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Jefferson Business Association urges donations to Weimer Elementary supply drive

By Ben Calwell, Metro Reporter
Oliver Fuels & Oils employees Jason Eastwood, left, and Jeff Runyon, with a load of cleaning supplies they delivered to Weimer Elementary School in a past school supply drive sponsored by the Jefferson Business Association. Through Aug. 15, the JBA is collecting cleaning supplies for the coming school year. Courtesy photo

The Jefferson Business Association is in the midst of its annual school supply drive to benefit George C. Weimer Elementary School in St. Albans.

The school on Kanawha Terrace serves students who live in Jefferson, which is an unincorporated area containing businesses and residences on MacCorkle Avenue between St. Albans and the Spring Hill section of South Charleston.

Weimer Elementary serves many low-income students, said JBA President Jill Oliver-Thornton.

“It’s a small school, and a lot of poorer families go there. We try to do what we can,” Oliver-Thornton said.

The school’s custodial budget doesn’t cover everything the school needs. For example, the school needs a variety of cleaning supplies and paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels.

“We still have two or three weeks to go,” Oliver-Thornton said, as she examined a small pile of donations at her Oliver Fuels & Oils business at 6819 MacCorkle Ave., Jefferson.

The JBA is seeking any of the following items for Weimer Elementary:

• Lysol/Clorox wipes

• Liquid hand soap

• Hand sanitizer gel

• Box tissues

• Toilet paper

• Paper towels

Donations of these items can be dropped off at Oliver Fuels & Oils through Aug. 15. All the donated supplies will be delivered to Weimer Elementary.

Oliver-Thornton, who volunteers in the Read Aloud program at Weimer, said the teachers and staff do a great job.

“They’re very loving and caring about the community and about the kids,” she said.

As the Aug. 15 deadline for donations gets closer, Oliver-Thornton is urging local businesses and residents to donate supplies, or even make monetary donations. Adults who attended Weimer Elementary as children are also asked to donate.

“If all the businesses, and even people who attended Weimer as a child, if they would all bring one box of tissues or one tub of Lysol wipes.”

The JBA is usually able to take at least one pickup truck load of supplies to the school.

“The last few years it’s been down because of the economy.”

Weimer Elementary Principal Pam Snead said the school’s custodial budget is based on the number of students in the school.

“Our custodial budget is less than $1,000,” Snead said in an email.

The needed supplies, such as Lysol/Clorox wipes, help to provide a healthy environment for the students.

“The drive is important to our school, because it adds much-needed supplies such as tissues, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes that our teachers use to clean desks, sinks and equipment in order to keep down the number of students who become ill throughout the year. Our school truly appreciates the work the JBA does for our school, and we thank them,” Snead said.

The school supply drive is just one way that the JBA gives back to the community. A recent improvement was the addition of much-needed streetlights along MacCorkle Avenue.

“The Kanawha County Commission was very helpful in our efforts to do that,” Oliver-Thornton said. “It has really enhanced our community.”

The streetlights have helped to decrease the number of pedestrian deaths and automobile accidents along that stretch of MacCorkle Avenue.

“It’s been a real blessing for the community,” she said.

The JBA is also looking to have more fire hydrants installed in the community. The organization was also instrumental in getting the traffic pattern at the nearby underpass changed to reduce the accident rates there.

“We asked the Department of Highways to make some changes to the traffic pattern, and it has greatly reduced the accidents there,” she said.

Oliver-Thornton said the Jefferson area is a more inviting community than it was in years past.

“We’ve tried to clean up the area.”

She said homes and businesses in Jefferson are taking greater pride in being part of the area.

“People are taking pride not only in their businesses, but in their residences. They’ve made big improvements in their homes, their yards and cleaning up. The community has really come together.”

For many years, Jefferson was known for its “strip bars,” but that is no longer the case.

“Everybody was so against Jefferson, because of the strip bars, but there are no strip bars anymore -- they are all gone,” Oliver-Thornton said.

The JBA is also trying to make the area more attractive for small businesses.

“So, at our next meeting, we’re going to deal with that and try to get ideas on how to bring people down for small businesses.”

The JBA’s next meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, at the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department.


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