United Way spearheads ‘Shine Bright’ boxes effort

Originally published: August 6, 2021

United Way spearheads ‘Shine Bright’ boxes effort

Students in Council Bluffs and Omaha who lack everyday essentials will get a little help, thanks to United Way of the Midlands.

United Way organized a project to send “Shine Bright” boxes of hygiene products to students in need at Council Bluffs Community Schools and Omaha Public Schools, according to a press release from the organization. The boxes will hold full-size containers of shampoo, toothpaste, soap and other items they need “to feel good and succeed in the classroom and in life,” the release stated.

“Shine Bright” is part of United Way’s Good on the Go — Care Kits for Kids, a fundraiser in partnership with Omaha and Council Bluffs public schools. With the community’s support, Shine Bright partners will distribute approximately 4,000 Shine Bright boxes to kindergarten, sixth- and ninth-grade students in need in both school districts. Volunteers worked Wednesday and Thursday to assemble the boxes at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.

“We worked in close partnership with Omaha and Council Bluffs schools,” said Brayton Hagge, communications manager for UWM.

“Twenty percent of households in Nebraska and Iowa have reported struggling to pay regular household expenses,” said Matt Wallen, senior vice president of community impact and analytics at UWM. “That means many families are having to make tough choices with their finances, leaving them without hygiene products like soap or dental products. We are proud to partner with Omaha and Council Bluffs public schools to make sure students have the items they need to regain their confidence and shine bright in school.”

The project is supported by presenting sponsor Women United and community sponsors Baker’s, Bridges Trust, Medica, the Mid-America Center, Nebraska Total Care, Veridian Credit Union and Werner Enterprises.

School representatives will pick up the finished boxes Friday at the MAC, and the boxes will be distributed at the schools, Hagge said.

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