HICKORY Donald Hicks is a busy man and getting busier by the moment.
A group of students said they are coming by to help later, Hicks told his wife. He was running late to go to Lincoln County where he was scheduled to referee, and hastily directed a group of volunteers in assembling a metal shelf unit.
While he worked, his cellphone rang several times. He talked as he hammered a support strut in place on the shelf unit.
He, his family and the Bethel United Church of Christ dove into a project designed to provide free teaching resources to teachers in all three Catawba County public school districts.
He got the idea when he was teaching in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, his wife, Dana, said. So many children didnt have supplies, and teachers filled in the gaps out of their own pockets.
An organization called Classroom Central in Charlotte provides free supplies to teachers of children who live in poverty.
The Central vision is to make sure all children have what they need to not only learn but to succeed, according to its website.
Because he worked in Charlotte, Hicks was able to take advantage of the free supplies. He decided to create a resource in Catawba County similar to the Charlotte organization.
Hicks and his wife are in the building stage of Classroom Connections. In a large gymnasium that the church gave them permission to use, the couple envisions a storehouse of traditional and nontraditional supplies that teachers can get to use in their classrooms.
In addition to the space the church has provided, other companies, such as Lowes Home Improvement, Rock Tenn and The Light Place at the Hickory Furniture Mart have donated various supplies and items. Not everything is school-related.
Donald Hicks points out a large bolt of white fabric that is stored in one of the completed shelf units.
This fabric is used for automotive upholstery, Hicks says. You know when cheerleaders run out before a football game with those large banners? Those cost close to $50. We can supply yards of this fabric which they can write on for free.
Dana Hicks mentioned part of the plan includes an idea board, where some of the more unusual donated items can be displayed. She held up a paddle fan blade as an example.
This could be used for an art project, she said.
Volunteers are needed to help put together the storage shelves that will hold inventory. The shelves, like those in a Sams Warehouse, are donated.
For our shopping area, we will have shelves that can roll in and out so that the church can use the space when it needs to, Dana Hicks said.
What does the organization need?
Volunteers to help put our storage area together, Donald Hicks said.
The truth is, Hicks said he would not turn down any help or any donation.
The goal is to have things complete and operational by January 2014. That will keep Hicks and his wife busy for the foreseeable future.
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