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Hurricane Irma Relief.

By a merciful providence, St. John’s and Savannah were spared the worst effects of Hurricane Irma.  Our gratitude is a powerful motive to help those who did not escape.  That’s why St. John’s is partnering with an Episcopal parish in Naples Florida, Trinity Church by the Cove, which already has a well-established outreach to the students, staff, and families of Parkside Elementary School, a community of working poor hard hit by hurricane damage and its effects.

Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church

Who We Are Helping
Parkside is a true neighborhood school of over 800 students, all living in the Naples Manor area, as well as an adjacent apartment complex. The area has the lowest rental fees available in the wealthy Naples community, and so is populated with a great many service workers and blue-collar employees. Over 90% of the school’s families are considered financially needy. Its staff has grown in recent years with many young teachers willing to work in this challenging but uplifting environment where they work to meet the needs of the whole child, academically, socially, mentally and physically. They rely on community partners to help meet these needs.  Five years ago Parkside was a failing school, with an F grade. With new leadership, and support from Trinity’s outreach ministry, the school has made a major turnaround and is now on its way to success.

Parkside Elementary School
Turnaround Story

What Are Their Needs?
A storm like Irma, which hit Naples Florida hard, is a major setback for this school.  A roof leak destroyed the classroom libraries, which (ironically) had been carefully stored above ground level to avoid flooding.  School supplies are in short supply.  Some parents who were service workers lost two weeks of pay – but now have to pay rent for temporary (but now expensive) accommodations, and insurance deductibles on damaged vehicles.  Food and clothing are in ample supply, but Collier County has no social services, and the working poor are usually not poor enough for public assistance.  There are some FEMA funds available but they don’t cover things like insurance deductibles.

Three Stories of Need

Three representative stories of loss were shared with us by the Rev’d Edward Gleason, Rector of Trinity Church, and Tom Gemmer, Parkside Elementary’s Guidance Counsellor.

1.            Sedona
is a third grader at Parkside in our advanced/gifted class. Her Mom, Michelle, is also a teacher at our school, leading our technology instruction program. Sedona, with her Mom and Dad, were renting the lanai space where Michelle’s Mom (Sedona’s grandmother) lives. They followed evacuation orders and left their home during the storm last weekend. Upon return they found the roof torn off of their lanai space, and everything inside wet, wind blown and basically destroyed. They are now staying with Michelle’s grandmother (Sedona’s great grandmother) as they await news. Just to repair the lanai roof and the space there may take a month or more and cost over $1000. They are tightly squeezed in Michelle’s grandmother’s space, with no AC or water for now. All hotels in the area are either full or still closed due to their own damages. For Sedona, an avid reader, her loss includes her home library, her uniform clothes for school, and her other school materials except what was in her backpack which she took with her to the shelter. The family has yet to determine their next steps as they sort out their options, but funds to address repair costs, hotel costs and future living space costs would all be of huge help.

2.            Early Literacy Library
Parkside is home to three Pre-K classrooms this year, all Headstart classrooms. One of these is an expansion class due to recent growth in our neighborhood. Prior to the storm the staff closed up and packed up as well as we could, lifting many items from the floor into cabinets in case there was flooding or window damage. Two of our Pre-K teachers, Beth, who has been at Parkside since the school opened in 2007, and Alison, new to Parkside due to the expansion of the program, moved their classroom libraries of early literacy books up into cabinets in their first-floor rooms. But in the insidious nature of storms like Irma, somehow a leak on the roof allowed water to travel through the walls, into these cabinets of books, put there for protection! The fiberboard cabinets absorbed water all throughout the storm, and have now basically burst with moisture, ruining the books and materials inside. These classroom libraries were a combination of school supplied books and books the teachers purchased on their own, as most all educators do. We have not been able to access the rooms to determine the total loss, but replacing the books for these two classes of 4 year-olds will amount to several hundred dollars at least.

3.            Jade, Juliz, Jalen
Jade, Juliz, Jalen, and their 7 month old baby sister live with their Mom in their grandparents’ home near the school. Jade is now a middle school student, having graduated from Parkside last year. Juliz and Jalen are Parkside students now. Their grandma is also the school secretary. The whole family left their home as directed to in evacuation orders, and went to the local high school shelter. After the storm they returned home, relieved to find it intact. But upon closer inspection, they realized that a palm tree behind the house had been blown over, landing directly on their Mom’s car, breaking the windshield, and also hitting their grandfather’s car, basically totaling it. They are awaiting insurance adjusters reports on the grandfather’s car, knowing that it will not provide full replacement value. The broken windshield was also not covered in Mom’s basic car insurance policy, so they are seeking estimates for that repair, probably several hundred dollars. Since the storm they have been without power or water, and four days after the storm the neighborhood began to face rising waters and sewer backup issues, so the four girls with their Mom are now sharing the home of a friend in another neighborhood while they wait to see if further damage is caused by these after affects of Hurricane Irma.

How Saint John’s Church Can Help

School supplies and Children’s books (Preschool to Grade 5), new or gently used, are being collected.  Each children’s book will have a label in it “Gift of Saint John’s Church in Savannah”.  These supplies and books are being collected at the entrance to Cranmer Hall.  For a detailed list of needed supplies, call Martha Sullivan at (912) 663-6221 or email

Donations are also being collected to provide rent assistance and insurance deductibles for hard-hit families of students and teachers.  They will be administered by the Outreach ministry of Trinity Church by the Cove in Naples Florida, for the benefit of the Parkside Elementary community.  All these funds will be transmitted to Trinity Church by the Cove designated for Hurricane Outreach in the Parkside Elementary community.  Make cheques out to St. John’s Church with “Irma” in the memo line.  Or you can go Online at for Online Giving (and designate it for “Special Collection”).

Why Give?
Trinity Church by the Cove has a big outreach ministry to its local community – with a budget of up to $200,000/year. They have not neglected the service of their neighbours.  St. John’s does not have the same resources, but that doesn’t mean our efforts are not needed and welcomed.  Given the magnitude of the needs, every bit helps – and every gift bears witness to the grace we have received, and our gratitude for it.

Parkside Elementary School Supply List 2017-2018

Kindergarten · __1 box of black dry erase markers · __2 box of crayons (24 count) · __ Glue (1 bottle and 4 glue sticks) · __ 2 packages of pencils · __2 reams of copy paper · __3 composition notebooks (wide ruled) · __1 three-ring pencil pouch for binder · __1 large eraser · __1 pack of disinfecting wipes · __1 box of facial tissue/Kleenex · __1 pair of scissors · __2 three prong folders-solid colors · __Ziploc bags · __Earbuds (optional) ·

1st Grade · __1 box of washable color markers (8 count) · __2 boxes of black dry erase markers · __5 composition books (wide ruled) red, blue, green, yellow, black · __3 ring pencil pouch for binder · __1 ½ inch white binder · __1 pack of 3×5 index cards · __1 pack of sticky notes · __3 boxes of facial tissue · __1 box Ziploc bags (any size) · __5 two-pocket folders (blue, red, green, yellow, purple) · __2 boxes of crayons · __2 boxes of pencils · __1 large eraser · __earbuds · __4 glue sticks · __1 pack of disinfecting wipes · __1 ream of copy paper

2 nd Grade · __2 boxes of pencils · __2 boxes of crayons (16 count) · __1 pack of disinfecting wipes · __2 boxes of dry erase markers · __1 ½ inch white binder w/view sleeve on cover · __1 pack of wide-ruled notebook paper · __5 spiral notebooks (70 count) red, yellow, blue, green, purple · __2 composition notebook · __4 two-pocket folders w/prong fasteners *solid colors only · __1 pack of sticky notes · __1 box of facial tissue · __1 box Ziploc bags (quart & gallon) · __4 glue sticks · __2 big pink erasers/scissors · __1 pack copy paper · __earbuds ·

3 rd Grade · __3 boxes of pencils · __2 boxes of black expo dry erase markers · __1 box of colored pencils (12 count) · __2 reams of copy paper · __1 2” 3 ring binder · __3 packs of wide-ruled notebook paper · __ 5 composition notebooks · (*red, green, blue, yellow, black) · __5 two-pocket folders (*red, green, blue, yellow, black) · __2 packs of sticky notes/scissors · __2 boxes of Ziploc bags (1 gallon & 1 sandwich) · __2 boxes of Kleenex · __1 pack of disinfecting wipes · __1 pack of glue sticks · __1 pack of large pink erasers · __1 pack of Crayola markers/ · __ earbuds ·

4 th Grade · __3 boxes of pencils · __1 box of colored pencils (12 count) · __1 box of 4 dry erase markers · __1 ream of copy paper · __2 packs of wide-rule notebook paper · __1 pack of 3×5 index cards · __5 composition notebooks (wide-rule) · __5 two-pocket folders w/prong fasteners *red, yellow, blue, green, purple · __2 packs of sticky notes · __1 box of facial tissue · __1 bottle of hand sanitizer · __1 box of Ziploc bags (any size) · __1 pack of disinfecting wipes(Clorox) · __2 glue sticks · __1 pencil pouch · __earbuds · __1 ½ inch three ring binder w with view sleeve cover

5 th Grade · __1 one-inch hard cover binder · __1 box of pencils · __1 box of black dry erase markers · __1 ream of copy paper · __1 composition notebook · __4 spiral notebooks · __2 -3 two-pocket folders w/prong fasteners · __1 pack of 3×5 index cards · __1 box of facial tissue · __1 pack of sticky notes · __1 box Ziploc bags (any size) · __ earbuds (optional)

Although the school provides the materials and supplies for basic instructional activities, the optional supply items on this list will allow your child to have an enhanced educational program. We appreciate your commitment to the education of your child, and, with your donation, can provide a great program for students at Parkside Elementary.