UAB to lead school supply donation initiative to benefit schools affected by tornadoes

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A new school year is upon us, and for some, it will be the first time back to school since the April 27 tornadoes ripped through local Birmingham communities. Many Birmingham area school students affected by the storms are in need of help.

(From left) Tami Long, Daron Drew and Kathryn Jones are coordinating the more than two dozen drop sites for UAB employees to donate school supplies as part of the Donate Supplies to Schools project.

That is why UAB is partnering with the Birmingham City Schools Board of Education to help those in need by collecting necessary school supplies for area schools. All UAB employees are invited to participate in the Donate Supplies to Schools project, which will take place from July 22 through Aug. 8.

“We wanted to do a back-to-school project of some kind this year, and we thought it would be a good idea to target the children affected by the tornadoes,” says Marie Baisden, director of The Resource Center/Employee Assistance Program at UAB and coordinator of the project. “Many students have lost everything. If we can reach out to these kids and their parents, maybe we can at least make one thing easier for them.”

The project originated with the Office of Human Resources, of which The Resource Center is a part. Alesia Jones, chief human resources officer, says this project is another way for UAB to give back to the community.

“During our recent climate survey, our faculty and staff rated UAB higher than the national norm — 81 percent to 76 percent — on the question ‘UAB has a good reputation in the community,’” Jones says. “Our faculty and staff have always displayed a commitment to helping others. This school supply drive will help many of the schools hardest hit by the recent tornadoes.”

The school supply need list was developed by Baisden and Samuetta Drew, chief of schools and operations for Birmingham City Schools. It includes traditional items such as binders, crayons, erasers, colored pencils, glue sticks, college-rule loose leaf paper and wide-ruled spiraled notebooks. Other items of need are rubber bands, hand soap, Kleenex tissue, hand sanitizer, Ziploc bags, Lysol spray and school uniform white shirts and navy pants.

Donate supplies to schools

UAB, in partnership with the Birmingham City Schools Board of Education, invites employees to donate supplies to schools affected by the recent tornado from July 22 to Aug. 8. Drop boxes will be set up in buildings throughout campus. Needed supplies are:

• Binders
• Black, blue pens
• College-rule loose leaf paper
• Colored pencils/markers
• Construction paper
• Crayons
• Erasers
• Glue sticks
• Hand sanitizer
• Hand soap
• Invisible tape
• Kleenex tissue
• Lysol spray
• Post-it notes
• Rubber bands
• School uniform navy pants
• School uniform white shirts
• Wide-ruled spiral notebooks
• Ziploc bags (quart and gallon size)

The school uniforms are the most expensive things on the list, and Baisden says they’re not really as expensive as she first thought. The pants sell for approximately $10 and the shirts for $12. All sizes are needed —from kindergarten through high school.

“If someone is going to donate a uniform, it wouldn’t be a huge expense,” Baisden says. “But if you think about some of the families affected by the tornadoes that have multiple children, buying uniforms could be a huge expense for them. It would be a great blessing and a relief for these families to have a little help.”

The sales tax holiday weekend of Aug. 5-7 will occur during the collection period. While Jefferson County will not be participating in the tax holiday, cities in Jefferson County will, including Hoover, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. Almost all of the school supplies to be collected for the project are eligible for the tax relief in participating cities.

“The best thing is that most of these supplies are not expensive, so even if your budget is tight, you can still participate,” Baisden says. “When you’re buying pencils, crayons or paper for your child, maybe you can buy an extra pack to donate for this project. Any little thing will help because they need it all.”

Drop boxes will be located throughout campus, including in Faculty Office Towers, the Child Development Center, School of Dentistry, Heritage Hall, Hoehn Engineering Building, Administration Building, Materials Science & Engineering Building (room 254), Medical Towers, Sparks Center, Henry Peters Building, Nursing Building, UAB Police Department, Volker Hall Lobby, Campbell Hall (room 452), Community Health Services Building, Cudworth Hall, Facilities Administration Building, Kaul Building, North Pavilion second floor lobby, Employee Health 123 Spain Wallace, Highlands, VIVA, Kirklin Clinic/HSF and Callahan Eye Hospital.

Building representatives at each donation site will oversee the box at their locations. Business Services will donate a truck and two movers to pick up the supplies to deliver to the Birmingham Board of Education on Aug. 8. The board will then distribute the items to their schools in need.  

“UAB employees are always so generous and gracious when it comes to helping others,” Baisden says. “Our people really care. When disaster strikes so close, we realize it could have been any one of us in need of assistance. So please join us in making this project a massive show of love and support.”