Students get back-to-school perks

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie
Lowery Elementary students schowacse their new digs.

Friday was a day of giving at both Donaldsonville Primary and Lowery Elementary where students received items to get back-to-school ready.

At Lowery, smiling teachers and first-year principal Karen Daigle handed out uniform shirts and backpacks featuring the school's logo, while community group Expect/Support the Fresh amped up the energy.

"We are trying to help the kids further their education and have a little fun, help them learn what they want to be and everything," said DM "Fresh" Thompson of Expect/Support the Fresh.

Expect/Support the Fresh is a collaboration of nonprofit GCF Foundation, Inc. and record label/creative agency - Expect the Fresh, LLC. The group sponsors an after-school program - The Fresh Club, and hosts pep rallies - one of which was hosted Monday morning to further garner student excitement for the new school year.

One person who came already excited was Principal Karen Daigle.

"It's going to be an amazing school year," Daigle said. "There's tons of energy - the kids are excited - the community is excited. The kids are ready to come back with the energy that we need to move our school forward."

The event at-large was a meet and greet, where parents were able to meet their children's teachers and ask questions about the upcoming school year. On the way in, each child checked in to receive their shirts and backpacks.

Lowery Elementary has about half a dozen new teachers beginning work this school year.

Across town at Donaldsonville Primary, the energy was just as high at registration. Just outside school doors, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank teamed up with BASF and Volunteer Ascension to stock students up with fresh produce, canned goods and snacks, as part of the Donaldsonville Primary School Mobile Food Pantry.

"We're getting the kids ready for the school year," said James McGowan, Director of Development at Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. "This is to jump start them ready for the school year, but to also kick off our backpack program here in Ascension."

The backpack program identifies 100 students in need of assistance and gives them weekly donations of food each Friday during the school year.

"A lot of kids in our area do not have food for the weekend," McGowan said. "We provide them with all child-friendly items - things they can prepare on their own."

Elizabeth Canfield, BASF spokesperson said that the fresh food initiative is an important cause for BASF.

"We want to make sure children have enough food in their household and are getting the nutrition that they need, but we also want to be sure that kids are getting introduced to fresh food," Canfield said. "BASF has been supporting the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for quite some time, but we've gotten very active in supporting their backpack program. In 2015, we established the program in the Ascension schools."

The bags given on Friday included grape jelly, cereal, milk, apple juice, fruit punch, peanut butter, canned raviolis, raisins, cookies and peaches, along with fresh produce.