Uniform giveaway makes the difference for single parents


August 09 at 8:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

AFSP volunteers and the group’s Executive Director Debra Rieder ready to distribute uniforms at Monday’s giveaway at the St. John Parish Public Library.
AFSP volunteers and the group’s Executive Director Debra Rieder ready to distribute uniforms at Monday’s giveaway at the St. John Parish Public Library.
When Renada Simmons of Luling came to the table at the St. John Parish Public Library, she was handed a bag with contents so important to her family that she was willing to drive to LaPlace to get it.

“It’s very important,” Simmons said. “It’s very helpful and I’ve been going to this for two years and it gets better every year.”

Simmons, who had flowed into the building from a long extended outside the library, had just received school uniforms for her five children with one at Hahnville High School, one at R. J. Vial Elementary School, one at Mimosa Park Elementary, as well as a child in Headstart and a one-year-old whose future will involve uniforms eventually.

This year’s School Uniform Giveaway, which is held by the Norco-based Assistance for Single Parents (AFSP), was open to single parents from St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes. The organization provides gently used uniforms and new uniforms on a limited basis to working single parents while supplies last, and they go fast.

Simmons praised AFSP Executive Director Debra Rieder for holding another successful giveaway.

Tabatha Dempster of Paradis said was providing uniforms for three children – two at R.J. Vial and one at J.B. Martin Middle School.

“It’s really helpful,” Dempster said as she received her bag of uniforms. “This is really helpful with being a single parent and already having the every struggles that we normally have on top of trying to buy school supplies and uniforms.”

Dempster also praised the giveaway.

“It was very organized,” she added. “Debra puts on an event that is always organized whether it’s a uniform drive or classes or the flea market sale. Anything she does, she’s just dedicated to it and she ensures every detail is met.”

She also thanked the volunteers who help Rider hold the giveaway.

For Schewone Myles, also of Luling, the uniforms were for her two children in Lakewood Elementary and Pre-K4 at GW Carver Learning Center in Hahnville.

“It was really awesome,” Myles said. “I really appreciate it because I’m a working mom and I really don’t make that much money on my job. Their father helps some, but he’s unemployed so I’m providing everything for our children so everything I can get for them is greatly appreciated.”

The uniforms are important because it’s for school, she said.

For my oldest, it’s very important and for my youngest, who doesn’t technically have to have a uniform, it’s still important for him to get ready for wearing one,” Myles said. Her youngest goes to kindergarten next year.

Myles also is willing to make a 25-minute drive to LaPlace for them – used or new.

“It was well worth it because uniforms can be expensive,” she said. “Kids are expensive.”

Understanding the financial pressures of having to get them, Myles said she has donated her son’s older uniforms for others to use.

She was equally complimentary of this year’s giveaway, saying it was organized and they have to bring their children to it so it wasn’t as crowded as last year’s event.

“It was in and out,” Myles said. “Our stuff was in a bag for us.”




View other articles written Anna Thibodeaux

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