We recently joined volunteers from School Attendance Support, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, as they delivered goods to Martha B. King Middle School and Manatee Elementary, A Community Partnership School.
The mission of SAS is to fulfill needs, and breaks down barriers that easily prevent students from attending school.
SAS, Inc. delivery to King Middle School
During a sit down interview with MeriLynn Blum, SAS Coordinator for Manatee County schools, we learned the non-profit organization began in 2021.
She said it started with providing feminine products for girls, and handmade pouches to carry them. “We learned that 1 in 4 girls miss school, one week out of the month, because they don’t have access to these products,” said Blum. “We've learned of many other barriers since then.”
SAS, Inc. delivery to Manatee Elementary School
Other barriers may prevent low-income students from attending school, including: rain, if a child doesn’t have an umbrella or rain boots, and tooth pain (cavities), if a child doesn’t have means to visit a dentist or have things like toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss at home.
SAS, Inc. provides things such as alarm clocks because many students are responsible for getting themselves ready for school, if they have working parents or guardians.
They also provide lice kits, deodorant, acne face wash, soap, laundry detergent, clothing and underwear, so students can practice good hygiene and have items available to them at school, so they don’t need to go home, should something come up.
SAS, Inc. works with principals, teachers, nurses and other staff, to identify new forms of support and make monthly deliveries to schools including Ballard Elementary and Lee Middle Schools.
They rely on generous donors and caring volunteers, many of whom are former educators, to make it all possible – with hopes to expand to more schools in the future!
For more information, please visit their website at www.schoolattendancesupport.org.