Southeast RPDC Assisting Department of Education With Haiti Relief Project – ‘Kits for Kids’

Area Schools Asked to Drop Off Donations Feb. 2 at West Park Mall

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 26, 2010 — The Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) at Southeast Missouri State University is participating in a statewide project to involve Missouri school children in relief efforts in Haiti.

The Southeast RPDC along with RPDCs around the state are serving as collection sites for the Department of Education’s “Kits 4 Kids” project next week that will involve students, families and community groups in assembling hygiene kits for children in Haiti.

Due to the anticipated response, the former Mr. Bulky’s store in West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau will serve as a drop-off point from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, for schools in this region wishing to participate and provide resources.  Public schools in the Southeast RPDC’s region include those in the following counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Ripley, Scott, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard and Wayne.

State education officials, in conjunction with an international relief organization based in Springfield, have kicked off the initiative in which the Department of Education is encouraging Missouri public schools to join the “Kits 4 Kids” project.

The kits will be collected and distributed in Haiti by Convoy of Hope (www.convoyofhope.org), a Springfield-based organization that already has resources on the ground in Haiti.  The organization has been in Haiti for three years, serving meals to as many as 11,000 children a day. 

The goal of the Missouri project is to assemble and collect 100,000 kits within the next 10 days.  The kits will include toothpaste, shampoo, a bar of soap, a toothbrush, comb and a hand towel packed in a gallon-sized plastic zipper bag. Schools are asked to place the kits in cardboard boxes, sealed/taped and marked with their school’s name, city and the number of kits contained in each box.

The Department of Education has created a Web site at http://dese.mo.gov/features/Kits4Kids.htm with supporting materials, a flyer that can be provided to students and parents, and detailed instructions on how to assemble and pack the kits.  

“Convoy of Hope is a well-established relief organization that is based in Missouri.  Some schools are already partnering with this group for Haiti-relief efforts.  We felt this project offered a tangible, low-cost, easy way for Missouri kids and families to show their compassion for suffering children in Haiti,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro.

Schools that choose to participate will be encouraged to assemble and collect the hygiene kits by Feb. 1.  Convoy of Hope will pick up the assembled kits or pay to have them shipped to its Springfield headquarters.

“To make this a more meaningful experience for all the children of Missouri, we also are encouraging students to include written notes to be included in the kits,” Nicastro said.

Ron Showers, outreach director for Convoy of Hope, said the hygiene kits will “make an immediate difference in the lives of the children in Haiti.  With an estimated 1.5 million homeless survivors, there is a great need to make sure they are supplied with the most basic necessities of life.  We look forward to the huge difference the students of Missouri are going to make in the coming weeks.”