Chenango Forks, N.Y. — Students in the Chenango Forks school district who struggle to acquire personal care products will now find what they need for free right within their schools thanks to the efforts of the Chenango Forks High School Art Club and the generosity of community members.
“Product Pantries” have been placed in each of Chenango Forks’ three schools stocked with personal care products including tampons, pads, wipes, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, deodorant, mouthwash, bar soap, toothpaste, hair ties and bobby pins.
In a press release from the school district, Chenango Forks High School senior Cassidy Nowik who spearheaded the project says she wanted to create the pantry to help her peers who may not be able to purchase these products due to a lack of access and/or transportation.
“I wanted to help improve our school district in ways that sometimes get overlooked,” she said.
The four pantries will be tucked inside two art classrooms at the high school, the middle school nurse’s office, and the elementary “clothing closet.”
“The goal is to put it in a private place away from everything else, so they’re comfortable using it,” Nowik said of the pantry and the students who might utilize it.
The Art Club also plans to create care packages for students to have over the summer months according to Nowik.
“School is a safe place for many students and a lot lose that security they have with school when it comes to the summer months,” she said.
The Art Club raised $750.00 for the project with a Gilligan’s Ice Cream Fundraiser. A Donors Choose Campaign raised $843.00 and was fully funded in less than 24 hours during the pre-funding phase of the campaign, before it even went live. The Art Club also donated $300.00 of the its funds to the project. Additional gift cards from anonymous donors are still coming in as part of the Donors Choose Campaign and staff and community members have been dropping off product donations. Nimmonsburg United Methodist Church is also accepting product donations.
High School Art teacher Keith Rosko, who advises the Art Club and is one of the classrooms to house a pantry, appreciates the community response to the project.
“It has been very gratifying to see the reaction of the general public,” Rosko said.
The Art Club continues to accept monetary and product donations. Products can be dropped off at the main offices of all three schools. Checks can be made out to Chenango Central School District with “Art Club Pantry” in the memo. They can be dropped off or mailed to the High School: 1 Gordon Drive, Binghamton, NY 13901.