Originally published: August 12, 2022
United Way volunteers assemble back-to-school ‘Shine Bright’ boxes
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Preparing to go back to school can be expensive for families, and high inflation isn’t helping.
Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Logan says she knows the beginning of the school year can be stressful for families.
“Sometimes, you know, families have to make choices around whether they’re going to buy detergent, or they’re going to buy food,” Logan said.
That’s why volunteers assembled 5,000 “Shine Bright” boxes at the Mid-America Center Thursday.
Each box contains hygiene items for students; like shampoo, soap, clean clothes and dental products.
The president & CEO of The United Way of the Midlands says it’s about more than staying clean.
“It’s really made a difference for young people, feeling good about themselves and ready for their day when they go to school,” Shawna Forsberg said.
Forsberg says the boxes will go to kindergartners, sixth graders and ninth graders.
They say there’s a reason these grade levels were selected.
“Those are the pivotal years in school – they’re starting school for the first time, or, you know, you’re going to middle school or high school, and you want to feel good about yourself and you know, feel accepted by your classmates,” Forsberg said.
Logan says The United Way has been a great partner for the district as students get ready to go back to class.
“They ask us what we need. They don’t make assumptions about what kids and families need,” Cheryl Logan said.
And when it comes to that growing need, Forsberg believes people will do what they can to help.
“What I do love about the Omaha and Council Bluffs metro is that people come together and really try to address the issues,” Forsberg said.