After becoming aware of signs made in support of another community, the Waukee Community School District superintendent approached the Waukee Community Schools Foundation about taking on a similar project.
“We decided to use this opportunity to enable us to fund some district needs as well as contribute to our local food pantry, all while showing support for our seniors, teachers and students,” Waukee Community Schools Foundation Executive Director Gina Campos said.
The foundation has since offered a variety of yard sign designs, including ones that read “We Miss Our Students” and “We Miss Our Teachers.” Each yard sign can be purchased for $18, with personalized signs also available for graduating seniors who will miss the remaining of their final high school year due to COVID-19.
Over 700 signs have already been ordered through the Waukee Community Schools Foundation. Of each order, $3 will go to the foundation and $3 will go to the food pantry hosted by the Waukee Area Christian Services.
“For approximately 20 years, the Foundation has held a food drive at each of the Waukee District school buildings to benefit the Waukee Area Christian Services. With the depleted shelves at area food pantries, we thought this would be a perfect time to give additional support to our families in need,” Campos said.
The Waukee Area Christian Services is an outreach ministry that is supported by 8 local churches and currently serves Dallas County with not only a food pantry but also a free medical clinic, community garden and client advocacy services.
To help fund these programs, the nonprofit organization typically hosts an annual in-person gala each year. However, this year the gala was transformed into a virtual event due to the impact of COVID-19.
“The money raised represents a significant portion of our operating budget. Going virtual allowed us to reach more people with our story and give access, through videos, to how Waukee Area Christian Services impacts the greater Waukee community and all of Dallas County. We are thrilled to have reached our goal of raising $52,000,” Waukee Area Services Executive Director Melissa Stimple said.
Last year the food pantry alone saw over 2,600 visits from clients. In order to help protect the well-being of both their clients and volunteers during the time of social distancing, the Waukee Area Christian Services has recently changed the food pantry’s open store model to a drive-through option. Since this change, the pantry has seen an increase of 15 percent in client volume along with an increase in the number of new clients that are coming in for help.
“The Waukee Community School Foundation support, as well as other support in our community, helps us keep up with the increasing demand so that we can maintain our level of service. With this help, we are able to continue to provide healthy food options and basic household items in need. At this point in time, we are able to meet needs of existing and new clients,” Stimple said.
The first round of yard sign orders began in the middle of April and can be placed through Friday, April 24, with a drive through pick up held on April 30 at the South Middle School. The Waukee Community Schools Foundation is asking that anyone with the last name starting with A-M pick up between 2-4 p.m. and those with the last name starting with N-Z to pick up between 4-6 p.m.
“With schools being closed, our students and teachers are unable to share their days together under one roof. This is just one way that our teachers can show just how much they miss their students, and our students can share how much they miss and appreciate their teachers,” Campos said. “These signs are meant to bond the community in a unique way. We are so excited to be a part of this project.”