MUSCATINE, Iowa—Tiffany Huntington always admired the Muskie Lockers at Muscatine High School and at Central and West Middle Schools. When Huntington’s daughter went to preschool at the Muskie Early Learning Center (MELC), Huntington saw for herself that the littlest students could benefit from access to clothing and hygiene items just as much as older students do.
Inspired to do something, Huntington started working with the MELC to decide what supplies students needed most. Together, Huntington and MELC staff identified hygiene items such as kids’ toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, body wash, and pull-ups, as well as underwear and socks as the most critical supplies. As Huntington summed it up, “basically, it’s head to toe hygiene.” Huntington added that teachers highlighted pull-ups as one of the greatest needs, as young students still getting potty trained go through many each day, and socks and underwear as the most commonly soiled pieces of clothing.
With the first batch of supplies already at the MELC, Huntington explained that any family in need may speak to their child’s teacher or contact the front office about getting supplies, no questions asked. MELC staff will note what items the family needs and get them to them as quickly as possible.
Just like the other Muskie Lockers throughout the district, the Mini Muskie Locker relies on donations to assist students in need. To make collecting the supplies easy, Huntington has organized several drop off points throughout the community, including at the MELC front office and the Muscatine County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office at 1601 Plaza Place, Muscatine. For the whole month of April, the Muscatine Community Y will also accept donations.
Huntington strongly encourages everyone to donate, as it will do a world of good for some of Muscatine’s youngest residents. “All children deserve to have clean underwear, socks, a toothbrush, and soap to keep their bodies clean,” she stressed. “By donating to the Mini Muskie Locker program, you are helping to make that happen.”
As the Mini Muskie Locker begins serving preschool students in need this spring, Huntington feels pleased with its progress so far and excited about its future potential, “it’s always a great feeling to be able to help someone in need—it’s ten times more rewarding when you’re helping kids in need,” said Huntington.
In turn, the MELC feels grateful to Huntington for getting the program off the ground. “It is wonderful to have families like the Huntington’s who want to give back to our community through their service hearts!” shared MELC principal Jessi Freers.