Local businesses partner with Portage EDC to hand out safety packs for Portage students
The Portage Economic Development Corporation (EDC), with the help of several businesses in the area, handed out safety kits containing face-masks, hand sanitizer, and a lanyard to keep everything neatly connected. The kits were assembled by a crew consisting of Amy Parker, the Business Development Manager at Portage EDC, Melissa Deavers-Lowie, the Communications Director at Portage Township Schools, and a group of bus drivers.
The safety kits were then handed out to children when they came to school on January 11, the first time the children have been to school since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation last winter and the first day students have seen their teachers in-person since the beginning of the school year.
“We wanted to make sure kids have the necessary supplies needed to have a safe return to the classroom,” Parker said. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of not only the local businesses who helped pay for the masks and sanitizers, but to the crew of bus drivers that came to help put everything together. They were a real blessing and wanted to help the kids however they could.”
The kits were handed out at Kyle and Myers Elementary in Portage. The children rushed into the school to see their peers and teachers in person. Laughter and smiles cut through the harsh Lake Michigan winds as eager students return to the classroom.
“It’s great to see the kids being so happy to get back into the classroom,” Deavers-Lowie said. “The fact that we all bound together as a community to ensure the safety of our students is very heartwarming. The bus drivers deserve a lot of credit, they were like little worker bees. They got here, and worked nonstop until all the kits were put together and ready to go.”
The hundreds of kits were divided by school, and then sent to be distributed amongst students. Each classroom was also given a thermometer to be used as needed.
“Unfortunately a lot of kids don’t have easy access to hand sanitizer at home,” Parker said. “Same thing with masks, so we know that every kid has a mask, and sanitizer that they can get refilled at the office in their school. We want the students to be able to stay in school and stay healthy. It’s great to have our local businesses band together to help out.”
The safety kits would not be possible without the help of these sponsors:
Best Western, Centier Portage, Code Black Fastpitch Ltd, Edward Jones Financial Advisor Jamie Lewis, Terry and Linda Hardin, Horizon Bank, Indiana American Water, Meridian Title Corp, Monosol, Portage Township Food Pantry, Robin and Randy Wilkening, The Pangere Corp., Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, Manufacturing Solutions International, Nipsco, Ralph & Beverly Mundt, Indiana Pickling, Cargill, IBEW Local 531, Porter County Community Foundation, Bill Rathjen, 1st Source Bank, PSC Machining, Portage Chamber, and Portage EDC.