African Diaspora Council supply drive helps 2 MPS schools

Following its fifth annual school supply drive, the African Diaspora Council presented the collection of supplies to the principals of two Milwaukee Public Schools on Friday.

The African Diaspora Council, in collaboration with the UW-Milwaukee Police Department, delivered the supplies to the students and staff of Robert M. LaFollette and Hopkins-Lloyd Community Schools. LaFollette and Hopkins are located in the 53206 ZIP code, one of the most impoverished areas in Wisconsin.

“Collecting supplies is one thing I thought would be very helpful for the principals, the teachers and the students, as well as their parents,” said Brenda Cullin, African Diaspora Council co-chair and office manager in the Department of Economics. “We can help alleviate the burden of these parents, because a lot of the parents do not have the resources to assist their own child.”

The African Diaspora Council is an employee resource group composed of Black faculty, staff, retirees and alumni of UWM.  Their mission is to help the surrounding community through professional, academic and community development.

The drive collected items such as Kleenex, Clorox wipes and cloth face masks in addition to more traditional school supplies like backpacks and colored pencils. Supplies were collected over three Saturdays in September outside of Chapman Hall.

Cash donations, all of which went directly to purchasing supplies for the schools, were accepted through cash apps such as PayPal and Zelle. Companies such as Walmart and Office Depot also donated to the drive, Cullin said.

“The annual school supply drive supports students by giving them a sense of pride in having the tools necessary to help them succeed,” said Diana Borders, African Diaspora Council co-chair and assistant director of business services in the School of Education’s Office of Charter Schools. “It’s great (because the supplies) last longer than just the initial month. What we do takes care of them through the school year.”

For the first time, last year during the pandemic, the drive collected enough supplies to support two schools. Cullin and Borders hope eventually to expand the drive’s reach even further, to every school in 53206. As of the 2021-22 academic year, there are 11 public schools serving almost 3,000 students in the 53206 ZIP code.

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