NEW IBERIA — An elementary school is helping families rebound from the pandemic by providing uniforms.
Jefferson Island Road Elementary Principal Niles Romero started what they call the "uniform closet" about three years ago.
The initial idea was that teachers and administrators didn't want to inconvenience parents for a change of uniform when an accident happened.
Now, the uniform closet has blossomed into something that is beneficial to parents, students, and teachers in Iberia Parish.
"We store uniforms that parents bring in and drop off to us at the end of the school year or the beginning of the school year," said Principal Romero. "We wash them and fold them and organize them, and then when we have a parent that has a need, we come in here and get it together for them."
Several dozen uniforms are available, ranging in various sizes for elementary school students.
Teachers say they understand it can be difficult financially when preparing students for school.
"You have to buy supplies, and this year, with the virus, [parents] didn't plan ahead," said Gabrielle Boudreaux, who teaches Pre-K and kindergarten special education. "They didn't get uniforms because we weren't sure until the last minute what was going to happen. So, especially with it being crunch time, trying to find uniforms, a lot of parents are struggling to get everything done."
Sometimes, the financial burden lands on the teachers, which is why they are appreciative of the uniform closet.
"It will be nice because when parents don't have an extra set, teachers are struggling, and teachers end up going to buy things that we can have in our classroom to borrow," explained Boudreaux. "So, personally, I appreciate that we're going to have extra uniforms because it will help all the teachers out."
The principal says not to call him a philanthropist; it's just the nice thing to do.
"I've always thought that we kind of serve our population, and schools can do a lot of things besides just teach kids, although teaching kids is the most important thing we do, but this seems like a pretty small thing to do that can help people out."
If you're interested in picking up or dropping off uniforms, send a message to the school's Facebook page.