Back-to-school shopping is in full swing for many families across the Valley. But for families falling on hard times, it can be stressful to provide everything their child needs to begin a successful new school year.
Students and teachers at Thew Elementary were in for a big surprise on Tuesday morning, August 8, as they were greeted by a huge Knight Transportation semi-truck full of school supplies on their school grounds.
Volunteers from Centene Corporation (Centene), a healthcare plan organization, were busy unloading hundreds of backpacks stuffed to the brim with school supplies for each and every student. Centene also donated a $600 Amazon giftcard to Thew Elementary and unloaded nearly 40 boxes of school supplies for teachers to integrate into their classrooms.
Founded in 1984, Centene has established itself as a national leader in the healthcare services field. The Arizona branch, located in Tempe, oversees Health Net Access, Envolve, Cenpatico and Ambetter. Centene Reinsurance Supervisor and Fund Committee Chair Troy Landrum helped organize this large donation event.
“Community outreach is a huge part of Centene,” said Landrum. “We have to take care of teachers and kids in our Tempe community – hopefully every little bit helps!”
Landrum also helped organize the donation of the Knight Transportation semi-truck which was air-conditioned so the donated crayons and pens inside the backpacks would not melt.
Although Tempe Elementary School District ensures each child receives all the necessary supplies he or she needs for academic success, brand new backpacks and school supplies make a world of difference to those who do not have access to these materials at home.
“It’s amazing that we have corporations such as Centene that are so generous and understand the needs of our students,” said Thew Elementary Principal Marissa Schneckloth.
Lined up neatly in a row, each backpack was proudly displayed in the gym where students and teachers gathered for their surprise morning assembly. Volunteers from Centene watched excitedly from the sidelines as they prepared to hand out a backpack to each Thew student.
“We should all be thankful because not every student can afford a backpack,” said Fifth-Grader Nayomi “Casy” Rodriguez Vargas.
“It’s just one more example of the community coming together in hard times of education to make sure every kid in our public school system has everything they need to succeed,” said Schneckloth.
Thank you to our community partner, Centene, for your support and generous donation to Thew Elementary!
Thank you also to Arizona Family Reporter Kylee Kruz for covering this great donation event. Please watch the video of this story below!