OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "There’s so much need in our community and it was there before the pandemic, and it’s gotten even more intense since the pandemic," said Papillion La Vista Community Schools (PLCS) Superintendent Dr. Andy Rikli.
Clothes, shoes, hygiene products, and so much more fill a room inside Carriage Hill Elementary.
It’s home to the PLCS Community Closet, which helps families in need across the district.
“We’ve literally had families come in with nothing but the clothes on their back and we take them shopping and we give them what they need to get their life started again," Rikli said.
He adds the closet highlights the generosity of others.
Over at Ashbury Elementary, they have one full room devoted to back stock.
“What you see here in the closet is actually a small fraction of the items that have been donated which is a huge testament to this community and their support,” Rikli said.
It’s easy and confidential for families to access.
“They can contact their teacher, they can contact their building principal. Every one of our 21 buildings has a school social worker that’s attached to the building. The social workers know how to get in touch with us," Rikli said.
Rikli adds there are vulnerable families all across the metro, and hopes other school districts have the opportunity to do something similar.
“There are so many families that are hurting. People have lost jobs, people have lost lives, and for us to be some small part of the solution in getting families back on their feet is just really powerful. I’m really proud to be a part of that.”
The school district always welcomes donations for the closet. They accept new and gently used items.