Rotary Club helps kids return to school

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By Special to the Monitor

Elementary school students from Los Alamos’ five elementary schools — Aspen, Barranca, Chamisa, Mountain and Piñon — gathered with Rotarians at Beall’s Department Store for “Clothes for Kids,” a back-to-school shopping event hosted by the Rotary Club Saturday.

 “This is the first year for the Back-to-School Clothes for Kids,” said Rotary President Skip King. “We collaborated with many folks, including Beall’s Department Store, Georgia Strickfadden of Buffalo Tours who provided a mini-tour for the kids and Los Alamos National Bank, who provided matching donations for Rotary Club’s member donations.”

 King said his former Rotary Club in California did the same kind of project, so he brought the idea with him and approached Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt and asked if he could gather children that might have needs for back-to-school clothing assistance.

Rotarians Gene and Wendy Schmidt, along with King, promoted the fundraising efforts within the Rotary Club membership and approached businesses as well. 

Beall’s Supervisor Carolyn Ramsey said, “Beall’s offers a 20 percent coupon book promotion once or twice a year. For this event, in addition, to our August Back-to-School sale, our manager Katica Berkeley authorized donation of the 20-percent-off coupon books for the children to use.”

 The children, ages 6–11, were quick studies, King said.  

“They’re making sure that not a single coupon goes to waste, reading them closely and ensuring that they get value for each one. Given how fast the kids grow, the Clothes-for-Kids offers practical assistance,”  Schmidt said. “It seems to be a good economics lesson as well; the kids are pretty good with the math.”

King estimated that roughly $1,500 was raised for the five families from individual donors and LANB’s 100-percent match.

 The Los Alamos Rotary Club meets from noon-1 p.m. each Tuesday on the third floor of the Best Western Hilltop House Hotel. Visitors are welcome.  Call Skip King at 662-8832 for more information.