PANAMA CITY, Fla. —
Employees at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division’s (NSWC PCD) Test and Evaluation and Prototype Fabrication Division recently volunteered to collect and provide school supplies for Bay District School’s children in need.
According to Paula Oliver, administrative assistant for the division, providing school supplies is crucial, especially in light of the devastation caused to the community by Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane that made landfall last October.
“Many local students are still living with the cleanup and rebuilding caused by Hurricane Michael,” said Oliver. “Damage is still visible, especially the more you travel eastward, so we really want to show support to our local students.”
Oliver said this is the fourth year that NSWC PCD volunteers have collected school supplies for local students in the community.
“The first year we began seeking donations, we were asking for five back packs and various supplies to distribute to each of our local beach schools,” said Oliver. “What is exciting is that every year donations keep increasing.”
Nicole Waters, fabrication and prototype shops project manager at NSWC PCD, said contributions will supply Hutchison Beach, Breakfast Point, Patronis, and West Bay elementary schools backpacks loaded with pencils, crayons, notebooks, and more.
“This year, we collected 113 backpacks and hundreds of supplies that were distributed to the four schools. Last year we donated 44 backpacks and supplies. The outpouring of support from NSWC PCD has been tremendous this year,” said Waters.
According to Waters, supporting today’s students is more important than ever.
“NSWC PCD wants to let our community know we support them and are here for them, now more than ever as their children face going back to school,” said Waters. “Many of these children are starting over in new places at unfamiliar schools and with new friends as we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael. We want to lessen the hardships challenging their academic success, especially since we’ve found we can assist by providing them with proper backpacks and school supplies.”
Dr. Ben Schlorholtz, scientist at NSWC PCD and another volunteer involved with the supply drive echoed Oliver’s and Waters’ sentiments.
“Our volunteers meet at the beginning of the school year to collect and distribute these supplies and we look forward to helping children again next year,” said Schlorholtz. “When we deliver the supplies to students, their visible appreciation is readily apparent. These outreach efforts may very well inspire our next generation to also pursue federal civil service careers.”