A former Litchfield Elementary School District governing board member is collecting donations for students and families in need at her school and beyond.
Dr. Tara Armstead, an achievement interventionist and online instructor at Washington Elementary School District, resigned from the LESD governing board in August citing treatment from colleagues and district administration.
Since leaving her board position, Armstead said she had been looking for ways to serve the community. She began collecting gently used clothing and backpacks, as well as unopened toiletries and new undergarments for students and families at her school.
After a conversation with her principal, Armstead expanded her efforts to include another school, Alta Vista Elementary, which serves much of the Washington Elementary School District’s newly resettled refugees and immigrant students.
“I’ve just been in contact saying, ‘Hey, I’m here to help and be for families what I wish that others would be for me if I was in that situation,’” Armstead said.
The support, she said, has been overwhelming. She received so many donations that the district’s storage facility is jam-packed with clothing, backpacks and other necessities.
Armstead is now looking to partner with a nonprofit to help get donations into the hands of those who need them most.
Washington Elementary School District serves about 22,500 students across 32 schools, and many students come from low-income families or are newly resettled refugees or immigrants.
Arizona is expected to receive an influx of Afghans evacuated after the Taliban seized control of the country following U.S. withdrawal in August.
About 150 Afghan evacuees have been resettled in the state as of October. A total of 1,600 are expected to be resettled in the state by March 2022, according to the Department of Economic Security.
Armstead said she will accept any and all donations, but right now, toiletries and hygiene products are the most-requested items. Those, Armstead said, are distributed immediately after they’re donated and include things like shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, soap, tampons and pads.
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