Horizon expands help to students in need
JOHNSTON, IA. (Jan. 21, 2022) — It’s a way that Horizon Elementary students and families take care of their own — a place they can go if they’re cold or hungry, or in need of toiletries such as lotion or toothpaste.
It’s called the Horizon Pop-Up Shop and Snack Shack. The project was started by 4th grade teacher Kristin Busby.
“She felt that our students’ basic needs weren’t always met which was a barrier to learning,” Horizon Principal Lindsey Cornwell said. “After some research, she worked with four students last summer to create the Pop-Up Shop and the Snack Shack.”
Both the shop and the shack are stocked from donations from Horizon’s PTO and community. Students can find items ranging from coats, hats, socks and boots to brushes, soap, deodorant and body wash in a storage closet that has been transformed into a Pop-Up Shop.
In the Snack Shack, they can get individual bags of snacks such as Goldfish or Cheez-Its. These donations are divided by six to distribute to each of the six grade-level communities at the school.
“The greatest need has been winter gear as of late,” Busby said. “However, we’ve also had kids grab toothbrushes and toothpaste. Right now, we are in great shape with donations for the Pop-Up Shop. We could always use snacks but we try to limit those to crackers, beef jerky, unsweetened apple sauce and granola bars that do not contain peanuts or peanut butter.”
Horizon fourth and fifth graders can ask a teacher and visit the shop as needed. Younger students in kindergarten through third grade must ask a teacher for assistance in getting items from the shop.
The Pop-Up Shop and Snack Shack provide more than just philanthropy, service learning and helping students in need. They also teach students how to run a shop. Fourth graders organize donations each day and advocate for their classmates when the shop needs something, like a coat rack or hangers. Food in the Snack Shack must be monitored and tossed if it expires.
The shops are so popular, they’ve expanded. The fourth-grade team this week set up a second Pop-Up Shop in the first-grade community, further fulfilling the vision of getting every grade level community involved. The new Pop-Up Shop has smaller coats for the little ones.
“The students decided that it shouldn’t be used on a daily basis, but whenever you are in need, it is available,” Cornwell said. “Students from the entire school are now coming to use it, so a second location opened up in the 1st grade community for our K-2 students.”