Gov. John Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long visited Lake Forest South Elementary School on March 14 to announce a $50,000 grant from Highmark Delaware’s BluePrints for the Community fund to support basic needs closets in schools throughout Delaware.

The funds will help high-needs schools across the state restock their basic needs closets so students have access to clothing, school supplies, hygiene products and other essentials.

“Highmark’s generosity is a perfect example of how community support can make a big difference in the everyday lives of Delaware’s children,” said Carney. “By meeting students’ basic needs in a dignified way, we are able to ensure children can focus on their learning and be successful. We are grateful for Highmark’s support in this worthy endeavor.”

The grant comes in two installments. The first $25,000 recently was distributed to help school leaders restock the closets for the second half of the academic year. The second $25,000 will come in June so the schools can restock over the summer for the new school year.

In August 2017, Carney launched the basic needs closets initiative in 45 high-need schools across the state. The stocked closets are a result of the coordinated efforts of Delaware educators, Delaware businesses, Delaware health care institutions and a partnership with First Book.

The basic needs closets provide elementary and middle school students across the state with increased access to free products designed to meet students’ needs so they can effectively participate in class. Each school’s basic needs closet is stocked with products identified by districts and charter schools as essential to the wellbeing of their students. Students are able to discreetly access the closets throughout the school year. The initiative aims to meet students’ basic needs with dignity so they can be ready to learn in class.

Hall-Long, who is overseeing the initiative for Carney, said the state will continue to look for ways to coordinate needed supports for students.

“Our children and families have enough things to worry about. School supplies and clothing should never be one of them,” said Hall-Long. “As a community, we have a responsibility to help the most vulnerable among us, which all too often are our children. This grant funding provided by Highmark will help ensure that Delaware students have basic supplies and necessities to be more prepared and more effective in school.”