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Bailey’s and Zonta team up to help with school supplies

By Staff | Aug 5, 2009

With back-to-school just around the corner, Sanibel families are grappling with a daunting list of school supplies mandated by the Lee County School Board.

According to Zontian Karen Storjohann, who learned of this requirement from Zonta partner CHR (Community Housing & Resources), the cost of supplies for a fifth grader could easily reach $150.

“Obviously, for some families, especially those with more than one child, the cost becomes prohibitive,” she said.

Storjohann discovered that Richard Johnson of Bailey’s General Store already had a plan in place to address the issue. Using its purchasing power, Bailey’s is amassing the required supplies and assembling everything by grade level into “Bailey Backpack Totes,” the string backpacks everyone is using these days. The bags will be available before school begins this fall.

To help the 13 CHR families with school age children, Zonta has set aside a grant of $960 from funds in the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida, and the parents may apply to CHR for an amount equal to the cost of the packaged supplies for each child. The outcome is a team effort that will help all island families, particularly those who reside in CHR housing,

Zonta’s partnership with CHR grew from a desire expressed by club members to help women close to home. Through its service project titled Serving Women On The Islands (SWOTI), the club focuses on education, support and assistance for single women, particularly those with children.

Zontian Judy Workman, team leader for the SWOTI project, commented, “This emergency grant not only reflects Zonta’s commitment to the CHR tenants, but also reflects positively on our recent partnership with the Sanibel School. This will make life easier for quite a few moms and their kids at the beginning of the school year.”

Richard Johnson said, “Our community is made up of a very diverse group of individuals, which is one of the many facets of our island that make us unique. Without this diversity, our island would be less of a ‘gem’ and we would all lose something very special.”

Bailey’s General Store, he added, is proud to join hands with Zonta in this community service project.

With check in hand, Mike Cuscaden said, “CHR thanks Zonta for its continued support of CHR’s residents and children.”

The Zonta Club of Sanibel/Captiva is a service organization of professional women working together to provide hands-on assistance, advocacy and funds to strengthen women’s lives on the islands, in Lee County and around the world through Zonta International.

For more information, visit www.zontasancap.com.