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The village of Union Grove has officially locked in a new public community resource. The Little Locker serves as a way for area residents in need to have access to free school supplies. This outreach project operates in a similar way to the Little Free Libraries. The blue locker was installed in August of 2022 and will serve as a hub for supplies and materials, as long as resources are stocked.

Kurk Incorporated, Martin’s Garage and other local area businesses founded The Little Locker.

“A student’s education is most important. If we can help them with school supplies and that helps them stay in school and do academically well, then it sets them up even better,” said Amanda Kurt, the Vice President and Project Manager of Kurk Incorporated.

The Little Locker
Credit: Emma Widmar
The Little Locker
Credit: Emma Widmar

Active supply drive

The locker is supported by community donations that are purchased from The Little Locker’s Amazon wish list. In addition, those looking to make a contribution can drop off supplies at the locker or at any of the partnering businesses that have helped make this project come to fruition. There is an active supply drive taking place now until Aug. 20 happening at local businesses.

“School supplies, it’s a small thing, for us to donate and put together, but it can make a big impact on a student’s life,” shared the organizer.

School supply donations can be dropped off at Martin’s Garage, All Cut Up Salon, Wellness at Wildwood, Pine Acres General Store, and Country Rose. Until Aug. 20, enter to win prizes by dropping supplies off at these partner businesses or shopping directly from their Amazon Wish List. Prizes are graciously donated by local businesses.

“Locker Buddies and Supporters” include All Cut Up Salon, Float Away, Kurk Inc., Massage By K at Wellness at Wildwood, Beaumont Avenue Events, TinCan Roadhouse, Martins Garage, Martin Ford, MAV Hydraulics, NAPA Auto Parts Union Grove. These businesses are a part of the mission to support the academic success of every child in the community.

“It’s not about us,” says Kurt.

Locating The Little Locker

You can find The Little Locker located in Union Grove in the parking lot of Martin’s Garage, 1422 Main St. For those interested in visiting, whether to get supplies or donate, note that it is across the street from Napa Auto Parts, 1401 Main St. in Union Grove.

The Little Locker serves as an outlet for people to collect the supplies they may need anonymously. The organizer explained various obstacles that can occur while trying to gain access to school supplies. On the student’s end, they may feel embarrassed asking for assistance. Parents can potentially struggle with knowing what to get. The Little Locker eliminates shame, worry and challenges that may occur socially when shopping for school supplies or reaching out for help.

“A lot of Union Grove area residents might not know that there are a lot of people in our community who may have hardships when it comes to their school supplies,” said Kurt.

The accessible location provides a worry-free experience.

“We wanted people to feel comfortable using it,” she shared.

Stocked for success

As of Aug. 16, the locker is stocked* with a plethora of items such as:

  • Backpacks
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Ziploc-style bags
  • Crayons
  • Pencil pouches
  • Scissors
  • Index cards
  • Glue sticks
  • Folders
  • Rulers
  • Black pens
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Colored pencils
  • And more!

*Contents in the locker are subject to change based on donations.

One of the mottos of The Little Locker is “take what you need, give if you can.” You can even see this message displayed on the locker. It serves as a continual reminder for those utilizing and supplying this resource.

Take what you need.

Give if you can.

The Little Locker
Credit: Emma Widmar

Organizers have expressed the importance of stocking the locker with other valuable resources such as feminine or other hygiene products. They agree that “to have a good and successful experience at school, (students) do need those (feminine products/hygiene products).”

As the colder months approach, there is a potential that there will be items such as scarves, hats and gloves stocked at the locker as well.

Get involved

In addition, private special requests are accepted. If you have a request, fill out the form at the bottom of the website’s home page. Your information and request will remain anonymous as well.

Updates on the project can be found on their Facebook page and/or website.

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