Earlier this year, Bridget Dunlay, a senior social work student at Pittsburg State University, was challenged with doing a community service project to benefit her community.

After reaching out to the Communities In Schools program at Parsons High School and hearing of its needs, Dunlay decided to focus her fundraising efforts there, helping collect school supplies and snacks to be given to students.

Communities In Schools of Mid-America is committed to delivering services to young people who need them and to help them meet with success in high school and beyond.

“The fundraiser was a huge success. I surpassed my goal of 250 school supplies and 250 snack items by collection 330 school supplies and 269 snack items,” Dunlay said. “In addition to those donations, I was able to hand over $842 in monetary donations.

“I had a fundraiser inside of my fundraiser. I purchased a football that was … an autographed Chiefs football. I thought that was going to go over well (selling chances to win it) with all the Chiefs fans coming out of the blue since they won the Super Bowl. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of that. That alone raised over $330. I am very pleased with how it turned out. I surpassed my goal and I’m very thankful.”

Dunlay said she owes a huge thanks to Elks Lodge in Parsons. 

“They were a tremendous help,” she said.

She was also thankful to Hopper Insurance and the many people who listened to her talk about the project, and the many people who shared her post on Facebook.

“I’m overwhelmed, honestly. I never thought in a million years I would get that much support and that much in donations,” she said.

As she looks to the future, entering into the social work arena, Dunlay said she is now considering applying to Communities In Schools to be a site coordinator after she graduates.

“I would definitely be interested in doing a project like this, maybe yearly, even if it is just doing something on Facebook. Because even with that I was able to reach a lot of people,” Dunlay said. “I received donations from people in Florida and in California. It reached a lot more people than I thought it would, just by a simple Facebook post.

“It makes my heart warmer because I know I am able to help these kids, and not only the kids but the parents, because I know the COVID placed a big struggle on everyone and I know they weren’t able to purchase what they needed. If I am helping to get that burden off their shoulders it is rewarding to me. I’ve honestly never been in those shoes, so I can’t relate to them in that aspect, but I can only imagine what this is doing to them to have the worry of not being able to purchase some like school supplies for their children. Just to help them not have to worry about that, especially with Christmas coming … I’m happy that I was able to help them.”

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