Greer-based Century 3 donated 500 face masks Monday to police, fire and EMS workers in Greer to help protect them from the COVID-19 coronavirus. “It’s a very kind and generous donation,” said Greer Police Lt. Patrick Fortenberry. “We like to say policing is a partnership. We’ve been partners with Century 3 for years. This donation will protect our officers for some time.” Read more.
The Duke Energy Foundation has announced a $150,000 donation to support low-income customers in the Palmetto State who are struggling to pay their utility bills during the COVID-19 crisis.
This additional funding will significantly increase the assistance available through the Energy Neighbor Fund and Share the Warmth programs to provide help to about 550 households with their utility bills. Funds can assist with heating or cooling costs. Read more.
Parent Tashma Glymph says teachers are under-appreciated, especially those who go above and beyond the call of duty during a coronavirus pandemic. That’s why she organized a small parade Sunday to honor her daughter Kirsten’s fourth-grade teacher at Pine Street Elementary School, April Volk. Read more.
Dray Bar and Grill is partnering with Upstate Service Industry United over the next few weeks to provide free take-out meals for food and beverage service industry workers and their families. Read more.
Parents and students can express their appreciation for teachers by downloading the sign at right, snapping a photo of you and your children with the sign, and submitting it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post your photos on the GCS Facebook page throughout Teacher Appreciation Week. Read more.
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is providing nearly $1.6 million to expand Senior Resources’ emergency senior citizen nutrition program. The contribution from the health insurer, combined with resources from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, will provide an anticipated 245,000 meals to eligible homebound elderly persons, according to a news release. Read more.
Michelin North America donated more than 25,000 surgical masks to AnMed Health Thursday, while Greenville Technical College held a critical supplies drive for the Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. Read more.
Downtown Easley is festooned with green banners listing the names of Easley High seniors, and they’ll stay there until graduation day. A decision about graduation will be made by May 11th, but school officials want to make it special. Watch the clip.
The Anderson University COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to remove financial obstacles that may hinder students’ academic success, said Anderson University Senior Vice President for Development and Presidential Affairs Wayne Landrith. “During this unprecedented time of global crisis, many of our students and their families find themselves facing unexpected financial hardships and uncertainty about the future,” Landrith said. “Of course, that is true of our alumni and friends as well, but we have received so many calls and emails asking how they can help. It speaks volumes about the generosity of our people and their recognition that our community is stronger together.” Read more.
Bi-Lo Reidville Road manager Alex Clever with a very happy first responder customer.
“At BI-LO, we’re dedicated to giving back to our communities, especially during these uncertain times. To show our appreciation and gratitude for our community heroes, we rewarded thousands of customers with free groceries during Monday night’s shopping hour dedicated to health care professionals and first responders. As a community, we are #StrongerTogether and will keep #WinningTogether together with kindness.”
17-year-old Savannah Williams and 15-year-old Garrett Williams
While looking at the United Way’s website, the teens discovered a way they could assist the Spartanburg Opportunity Center. According to the website, the need was for laundry detergent to wash clothes for the homeless. Spartanburg Opportunity Center set a goal of raising enough detergent to do 2,020 loads of laundry, but the Williams siblings did more than that.
Greenville Health Authority, by way of the Healthy Greenville Grant initiative, pledged $150,000 to three organizations in Greenville County in order to make an immediate impact on organizations that are seeking to provide health assistance for the county’s most vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis. The three organizations are Miracle Hill (for their COVID-19 shelters for the homeless), Meals on Wheels of Greenville, and FoodShare of Greenville. Read more.
Seniors Are Honored with Downtown Banners
Spring sports seasons have been cancelled and athletic banquets are not happening this year, so Pickens and Woodruff honored their senior athletes by hanging banners with their photos downtown. Click the links to see the photos!
A parade of honking cars drive by the home of Carson Griffin, on her 11th birthday in Anderson Friday. Classmates originally were going to have a party, but with the closure of Skateland and threat of the coronavirus, they decided to surprise her with the parade. See more here.
Jamarcus Gaston talks to two Upstate makers who are 3-D printing PPEs (personal protective equipment) to ship to hospitals that need them, in collaboration with the group 3DforCOVID.com. See the whole story here.
Meals on Wheels of Greenville is committed to supporting Greenville County seniors and homebound neighbors as social distancing and additional restrictions increase in efforts to suppress COVID-19. Despite the uncertain times, the Meals on Wheels priority remains to deliver a hot, nutritious meal and personal interaction to the homebound throughout Greenville County while also ensuring the health and safety of all parties involved. Read more.
“Since she just started the shopping service last weekend, she’s only gotten a few families signed up. But she’s enlisted 10 of her fellow medical students to do the same in their neighborhoods as well.” Read more.
For many in the Upstate, life has changed as the coronavirus’ impact expands, and some residents have taken action to help. Read more.
Lions Club cancels tournament but raises money anyway
The Greer Centennial Lions Club found a way to raise money after canceling a fund-raising bass tournament planned for this weekend. The Lions asked sponsors to contribute and the club donated $3,000 each to three organizations, including Greer Relief (pictured), Greer Community Ministries and the Greer Soup Kitchen.
Over 40 teachers and staff at Boiling Springs Elementary School participated in a teacher’s caravan parade through four of the school’s neighborhoods in Boiling Springs, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The teachers held signs and told their students they were thinking of them while the school is closed down. Katie Sanders, a third grader at BSES, holds a sign from her car as she waves to the passing caravan in her neighborhood. See photos here.
Thanks to Keisha Long from DHEC for this information:
In this age of social distancing, working from home, schools switching to online classes, and visiting loved ones by electronic devices, virtual tools and the internet are more important than ever. Below are some options:
In response to the public health crisis, Access from AT&T is temporarily offering two months of free service to new Access customers who order by April 30, 2020 with $5/mo or $10/mo thereafter, depending on your speed; Expanding eligibility based on income and to households participating in National School Lunch Program/Head Start; and Waiving all home internet data overage fees
Beginning Monday, March 16, Spectrum is offering free access to internet and WiFi for 60-days for new Pre-K to 12, college student and teacher households who don’t currently have internet or WiFi service. This discount will be applied as a credit for your first two months of internet services. They’ll waive any installation or pre-payment fees to help get you started.
by Catherine Schumacher, President & CEO, Public Education Partners
I’m writing this blog post from my home office, where I am enjoying one of the two benefits of working from home (the other being the dress code): windows.
I never thought I would miss my windowless office at Public Education Partners so much. I took the quiet space, free of distractions, for granted. I took my brilliant and funny colleagues, the quick convenings in the hallway and the rather grim breakroom, for granted. Lots of things…taken for granted.
As our communities come together to respond to COVID-19 and its wide-ranging impact, all of us at Public Education Partners hope that there is one thing that no one will take for granted ever again: the essential role that public schools play in our society. Not just as places of learning, but as anchors of our communities.
Schools are, first and foremost, a safe space where our children learn to be educated, engaged, empathetic members of society. What we have seen in the last few weeks, however, is all of the OTHER things our schools do as well. Kids receive healthy meals that keep their bodies strong and minds sharp. They turn to school-based health centers to receive medical care and mental health supports. Families are connected to a broad network of social service providers that help with everything from homelessness to job training.
All from one, chronically underfunded system.
Our school districts–our teachers, counselors, principals, staff, administrators, and superintendents–are superheroes. As Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster observed in this op-ed published last week in the Greenville News, the efforts to transform learning and other support for our students on a very short timeframe are nothing short of “heroic.”
In Greenville County alone, we have 81 different locations where the district is providing not only two meals per day for students, but also free wi-fi access so that kids who don’t have it at home can download new content to their school-issued Chromebooks, submit assignments to teachers, and continue learning. Special education teachers, counselors, and school social workers are all keeping a close eye on their students, checking in just as they would if schools were in session as usual. These efforts are being replicated at districts across the Upstate, and they powerfully demonstrate the ways in which public education is about so much more than academics.
Public Education Partners of Greenville County is proud to serve as co-facilitator with Ten at the Top of the Upstate Education Spectrum, which convenes key stakeholders to discuss critical needs in education that impact our Upstate Counties. Over the last year, we have been focusing on the teacher shortage, working together to develop strategies for recruiting and retaining the best teachers for our Upstate classrooms—inviting them to #TeachattheTop.
The Teach at the Top brand was developed in partnership with our friends at Duke Brands and will be the heart of collaborative messaging about the benefits of teaching in the Upstate. Like PEP’s #Teach864 campaign, Teach at the Top will celebrate the terrific work of teachers and schools in our communities. Keep an eye out for news from #TeachattheTop on social media platforms in the weeks to come—now is the perfect time to shine a bright spotlight on these superheroes among us.
I also want to ask our Upstate community to keep a close eye on how we can support our public schools, teachers and administrators, and the students and families that they serve over the next several weeks. In particular, our Upstate United Ways are helping to coordinate strategic supports for children and families during this time. Public Education Partners will be doing everything that we can to be a good partner to Greenville County Schools, our colleagues at Ten at the Top, and others as we navigate this crisis. I invite you to follow us on our social media platforms (@PEPGreenville) and website for critical information relating to COVID-19, along with updates about our own programming.
Be well. Stay safe. Thank a teacher.
Public Education Partners (PEP), founded in 1985, leads our community in acting collectively to support, strengthen, and advance public education and student achievement in Greenville County Schools. To that end, its work focuses on Elevating Teachers, Empowering Advocates, and Engaging Communities.