St. John Valley

Van Buren students start the year with support from donors

VAN BUREN, Maine – A couple of Van Buren graduates helped students and teachers start the new year off right with some some much-needed donations.

Van Buren District School serves 262 students in Pre-K through 12th grade. They returned to school on Aug. 17. 

Ahead of the new school year, Troy and Dinah Doucette, who graduated from Van Buren and now live in another state, provided school supplies, food pantry items and clothing. 

“You name it and we’ve got it,” Van Buren District director of guidance Kelly Davis said. 

Among the donated supplies are items for each classroom such as tissues, markers, glue sticks, pencils, notebooks, book covers and calculators, and which were included  on a school supplies list on the Van Buren school Facebook page

“Some students do not come to school with school supplies and this allows us to make sure they start the school year off right,” Davis said. “This also has allowed the teachers to not have to spend so much of their own money to purchase items for their classrooms.” 

The generous donors also provided food and clothing for the students. 

“We got a large donation of food items such as snacks, water, juice boxes, and (microwaveable) food that can be easily made by a child,” Davis said. “For clothing, we got socks, underwear, leggings, sweat pants, sweat shirts, sneakers and boots.” 

Van Buren District School offers a Weekender Program for all students during which they can pick up a backpack full of food and toiletries at the end of the school day each Friday to provide for them over the weekend. 

The program is in partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank which helps to supply food through a monthly ordering system. The food is delivered to Catholic Charities in Caribou, where school officials will pick it up. 

“This has been an incredible service for our students and families,” Davis said. “We also have a Snack on the Go program that allows for students to come down throughout the day to Guidance to get a snack should they be hungry or miss breakfast or lunch.”

The school also instituted a clothing pantry which helps students who may not have enough clothing.

“Last year, we got an incredible donation from the Van Buren Resiliency Project of jackets. That is such a wonderful donation given how many students need winter jackets,” Davis said.  

Davis said she is forever grateful to the Doucettes and all who provide for the teachers and students of Van Buren District School. 

Anyone who wishes to donate items can do so throughout the school year at the guidance office. 

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