Wednesday, December 26, 2012
For 20 years, Santa has been synonymous with another name in North Hamilton County: Jim Wilson.
About 23 students received school supplies, uniforms and presents for Christmas this year thanks to Soddy-Daisy Middle School’s Jim Wilson Fund. The founder of the fund, the late Jim Wilson, served as the custodian at SDMS.
“Every year at Christmas, Soddy-Daisy Middle School staff take students in need to Walmart to purchase clothing, personal items, shoes, coats and school supplies,” said Jim Wilson Fund coordinator Jenny Holloway, who serves as an inclusion teacher at SDMS. “We also provide support during the school year as needs arise.”
Last Tuesday, children selected items thanks to the funds supplied through their school’s fundraising efforts. Each student chosen to benefit this year received $125 for school supplies and school uniforms and an extra $25 to buy their family Christmas presents.
“The Jim Wilson Fund is helping my family,” said seventh-grader Caitlyn Campbell. “My parents are going through a divorce so we don’t have much money, so my mom is grateful the school picked me to come get clothes. I got clothes and school supplies.”
Sixth-grader Chase Dobbins, who was also able to purchase school clothes and supplies through the fund, said, “It helps our family. I live with my grandparents. My papaw is in surgery today, so they need help to help me.”
Holloway said while Wilson cleaned the floors in the hallways, he noticed children coming into school without coats, so he started buying jackets for them to help them stay warm in the winter.
Shortly after his retirement Wilson passed away, but his legacy lives on through the Jim Wilson Fund, begun by SDMS staff to honor his memory and to support children in need of assistance. The fund provides dental help, eye exams/glasses, school supplies, dress code clothing, shoes and coats to SDMS students in need annually.
Sixth-grader Allen Parker said that through the fund, he was able to purchase items to help his family, which is also dealing with medical issues.
“My mother has kidney failure, so she can’t work,” said Allen. “The fire department and other people have been helping us this year. I got to pick out some school clothes and school supplies. I got my mom some earrings that I thought she would like. My brother is here too. I’ve never met my dad before.”
According to Holloway, the Jim Wilson Fund brought in less than $500 this year, but luckily has $8,000 in reserves. Being unable to sell snacks in the school due to new federally mandated health initiatives has put a pinch on fundraising efforts, she said.
“When we had an abundance of funds we took 50 kids to Walmart,” said Holloway. “We have a handful of parents call for help and the teachers nominate the rest of the students. Hundreds of kids have benefited from the Jim Wilson Fund.”