For many children, going back to school is a time of excitement and new promise, but for students struggling to afford school supplies, clothing, and lunches, it can be full of uncertainty and stress.
To ease the financial burden of going back to school, LOAN provides clothing, school supplies, milk tickets, among other items to children that are unable to afford these items. LOAN, which stands for Love One Another Now, is a volunteer-run nonprofit based in Cavalier, North Dakota, that helps supply school-age children in Pembina County with clothing and school supplies.
LOAN was founded in 2014 by Lorna Ratchenski after she noticed kids from struggling families didn’t have the same school supplies that her grandchildren had. She purchased school supplies for several students in need out of her pocket. Lorna continued donating school supplies until 2016 when the program had grown to a point where it needed more room. LOAN relocated to the basement of the local Do It Best hardware store and continued to grow to meet the need of Pembina County’s students.
School administrators and teachers across the county send families to LOAN for assistance. The program also serves the children of migrant workers who help with harvest during the fall months. LOAN’s reach extends beyond the county’s schools as they also assist the Pembina County Foster Program and domestic violence victims through Social Services. LOAN has even supplied clothing to families who have lost their homes to fires.
“Each family has a private and confidential appointment to reduce the stigma that some kids feel. The appointments ‘feel’ like real school shopping at the mall,” LOAN volunteer Beth Brown said.
The store is run completely free of charge and each student who comes receives a week’s worth of clothing and a new backpack filled with school supplies. LOAN also donates $1,000 to the Cavalier Public Schools to fund milk tickets and free and reduced lunches.
“Kids on free and reduced lunch programs do not receive second helpings of the entree unless there’s a punch card, which LOAN now provides,” Beth said. “For some kids, it’s their only hot meal that day.”
LOAN noticed a huge surge in need due to the pandemic. In 2019, LOAN had assisted 109 students throughout the school year. By 2020, that number increased to 179 students. With the start of another new school year, that need is likely to increase.
“I’ve been doing this since the fall of 2014 and enjoyed every minute of it. We like to feel like we help them have a better year,” said LOAN founder Lorna Ratchenski.
Lorna and LOAN continue to serve with their hearts set on providing students with the resources they need to pursue their education.
“I’ve been doing this since the fall of 2014 and enjoyed every minute of it,” said LOAN founder Lorna Ratchenski. “We like to feel like we help them have a better year.”
We wanted to help LOAN give these students a better school year, so Choice Bank donated $4,000 to the organization. It is our hope that every student has the supplies and nutrition they need to thrive in school.
The kindness and generosity of Lorna and all the volunteers at LOAN have created a community that rallies to support all of its bright young students. These donations are more than just school supplies, it’s a gateway for students to pursue their education without barriers.
LOAN accepts donations of new to gently used school clothing sizes 4 to adult, winter clothing, school supplies, and monetary donations. Appointments to receive clothing can be made by calling (701) 265-2423.
The Choice Bank Wishing Well is now accepting wishes for 2021! Ready to cast yours? Visit choicewishingwell.com and let us know who you would like to help out in your community.Make A Wish