BRUSHY PRAIRIE — After watching the idea float around social media for about a year, Brandy Sexton decided to take the initiative to start a blessings closet with hygiene items, snacks and other little necessities for students at Prairie Heights High School.
The mother of five doesn’t work for the district, but her children all attend the schools and as a community member, it’s something she wanted to see available to students.
“Probably a year ago I saw the idea on Facebook,” Sexton said. “I thought it was an awesome idea.”
She waited a bit to see if anyone else would start the project and, when nobody did, she decided to approach a few clinic staff at the elementary and middle school buildings during the back-to-school, meet-the-teacher-night for the 2019-20 school year.
She asked Megan Vaillancourt and Amy Lash, the middle school secretary and nurse, if they’d want to start one and found the two had already started an elementary and middle school blessings project at the end of last school year using their own money.
“They suggested I ask at the high school,” Sexton said. “The high school said it would be amazing.”
Susie Huss is the go-to person in the high school office for many students already, Sexton said. She is normally in the office when students go to the clinic, which is also where the blessing closet is located.
Students are able to discreetly go into the clinic and get something they may need without it being obvious that they’re grabbing soap, deodorant or something else they need from the closet.
With it being in the clinic, it makes the closet nice and discreet. It’s accessible whenever school is in session.
Donations to keep the closet stocked have been rolling in all semester, and Sexton said she’s got the middle school staff checking with the closet for items they might need instead of buying items with their own money.
Sexton also said there’s a middle school teacher, wishing to stay anonymous, that keeps items in their desk and students come asking for them.
“I’ve told that teacher to come see if what is needed is in the closet and, if so, come get it,” Sexton said.
Already a popular addition, Sexton said several students have come to talk to Huss, asking if they can also take things for siblings or others in their home in need.
“They’ve all been told yes,” Sexton said. “The closet has a lot of stuff.”
Some of the biggest, continuing needs are bar soap, deodorant and small snacks like granola bars.
“I want to make sure the children in the community are taken care of,” Sexton said. “I want them to know there’s someone in the community willing to help them and take care of these things for them.”
Sexton also said if there is a need for something that isn’t in the closet yet, she’s always taking suggestions. She has started a Facebook group called Blessing Closet @ PH, https://bit.ly/2oui0bL, where people can not only see what is needed but also where donation locations are at.
Sexton said one of the greatest helps she’s had has been from her church, Stroh Church of Christ.
“They are a great help in all of this and for the school,” she said.
Donation boxes are currently located at the Stroh Church of Christ, the office of Dr. Ronald Denton, LaGrange, Russell Cellular, LaGrange, Howe LaGrange Insurance, Mongo United Methodist Church and Miller Poultry.