The Stow-Munroe Falls Lions Club is undertaking a project for students -- one that hopefully is never needed.
"Adopt A Classroom - With A Safety Bucket" is being called "a good investment for our community that we hope is never used" by Lion member Denise Tonelli and chair of the project.
The plan is to supply each classroom in Stow and Munroe Falls with a 5-gallon bucket filled with medical supplies and tools that a teacher could use in case of an emergency. The buckets are meant to provide immediate assistance to students before safety responders are able to arrive.
Lions Club president Marty Dennis said the group decided to take on the project after she had conversations with her daughter, a teacher at Riverview Elementary, and with Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver, whose department undertook a similar project earlier this year.
Speaking of recent school shootings, "We hate to think of it happening but it seems almost inevitable in this country," said Dennis. "Some may say [the project] is overkill, but we believe it seems necessary."
Dennis also noted the items could be used in other instances, like an accident or an ill child in the classroom.
Tonelli said Kimpton Middle School principal Jim Saxer and Betty Bradshaw, an administrative assistant in the district's central office, met with school staff to come up with ideas of what to put in the buckets, which will be kept in each classroom within a teacher's reach. The list included medical items, tools and non-perishables.
Saxer said district personnel definitely support the project. "We're talking about ensuring the safety of our students in their classrooms."
Tonelli said the committee has been narrowing the list of bucket items down with the help of Stow Police Chief Louis Dirker and Officer Jim Barker and Stow Fire Chief William Kalbaugh.
"There are no frills -- it's an essential items list," said Tonelli, who is joined by Lion member Dale Fawcett on the project.
The committee is working with local businesses and groups such to fill the buckets by donating or purchasing the necessary items. Tonelli noted the committee was looking for ways to keep the cost down but still supply the needed items.
One example was instead of buying individual blankets for around $8 each, the group will purchase a large amount of fleece material and cut it to size, reducing the cost to less than $3 each. An Akron-based business, American Made Bags, has offered to provide the bags to keep the buckets covered at about $2.25 each, which will include screen printing of donors' names.
With more than 400 Safety Buckets needed, the Lions are also asking the community to help. They have created the "Adopt A Classroom" for $25, which will cover the materials for one bucket.
To help with the project or for more information, contact Tonelli at email@example.com or 330-687-8880. Checks made payable to the Stow-Munroe Falls Lions Club Safety Bucket Program can be mailed to the Lions Club at 1732 Westport Cove, Stow 44224.
Borrowing from the Boy Scout motto, Tonelli, a teacher in Kent, said, "Be prepared -- but hope you never use it."