Maryville Middle School creates the Len DeHand Closet

By Kate Lydon, Maryville Middle School assistant principal

Students learn better and are less likely to struggle in school when their hierarchy of needs are met. However, there are times throughout our lives when each of us may need a helping hand. Someone to either lift our spirits or provide some type of aid. Through many generous donations MMS has established the Len DeHand Closet to support our students and staff in times of need.

The spirit and name of this closet came from an anonymous donor to Maryville Middle School, Len DeHand. In the summer of 2018, I received a call from an anonymous number asking how they could help students in need at MMS. The man on the other end was a happy guy who gave himself the pen name, Len DeHand. He shared with me he was alumni of the Maryville R-II School District and was at a point in his life he wanted to give back. He chose the middle school because he feels “they are an age range that are often forgotten.” Over the past two years, I have enjoyed my conversations and letters from Len DeHand. He has given me a few tips as to who he is but asks to remain anonymous in the true spirit of giving. To be sure to keep his anonymity Len began sending monetary donations to MMS multiple times throughout the school year in the form of money orders. This money has been used to purchase shoes, clothes, and supplies for families in crisis.

The Len DeHand closet is located in the MMS office and stocked with hygiene items, new and gently used clothing and shoes, school supplies, healthy snacks and non-perishable take home meals. Several local groups have donated items to help get this project going. Most recently we received a large donation of trapper keepers and backpacks from our local Kiwanis Club.

We hope to build great partnerships with our donors so we can serve many families in the future. A special thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Len DeHand, MMS staff, One Act, Kiwanis of Maryville, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nodaway County and Santa Cops. We would not be able to supply students with all of their needs if it were not for your partnership. We are grateful for your generosity and look forward to helping our students.

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