WESTFIELD – The community has responded in a big way to a request for bottled water for Westfield Middle School students.
Principal Jessica Kennedy explained that the school has a total of 11 water fountains, but with COVID restrictions, only the fountains in the cafeteria can be used for the purpose of refilling water bottles. “All of our other water fountains are currently covered and unusable under COVID restrictions,” she said.
“Originally, we brought the idea to the PTO to try and raise money for touchless refillable water fountains. Unfortunately, the cost for this was more than we could raise this year, so we decided to add it to the list next year,” Kennedy said.
The PTO, led by president Rachel Bullock, then suggested for the duration of this year, especially in light of the increase in temperatures, to collect water bottles to distribute to students who forget their refillable water bottles or who run out of water prior to or after going to lunch.
The PTO went to work with great results. Parent Anne Kalter reached out and asked Stop & Shop for a donation, and the store donated 25 cases of bottled water April 12. The store manager Brian Sullivan also brought up the idea to the corporate office, which will be making a separate donation to WMS and Westfield Intermediate School.
“Stop & Shop has helped our communities work through new and unique challenges that have arisen during the pandemic. Limited access to water in schools has been an unforeseen, but real concern for students and teachers. We’re proud to support Westfield Middle School with this donation of bottled water, and we hope this donation helps students to stay hydrated and focused on their studies throughout the day,” said Maura O’Brien, external communications and community relations for Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.
Parent Tania Thibault approached Results in Wellness, which donated 700 bottles of water to the school on April 14. Also responding was the Westfield Professional Municipal Employee Association, which donated $100 worth of water the same day.
“Honestly, it’s great for our kids to stay hydrated especially in the coming summer months with more time outside. We are stunned by the outpouring of support from the community, and we could not be more grateful to these businesses for supporting our kids. We have distributed water bottles to rooms, and our students are incredibly grateful,” Kennedy said.
“Thank you to everyone for all of the support to WMS. We have an incredible school, community, and PTO,” she added.