By MADDY VITALE
In a time when fundraising for the Ocean City school district has slowed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a local organization has offered help in the way of a needed donation.
The Ocean City Gardens Civic Association donated $4,350 this month to the district for three needed supplies.
The donation enables the district to purchase 155 mask clips for Intermediate School students, giving students a way to secure their protective masks to their clothing should they have to temporarily take the masks off. Funds also went to the Primary School for 654 foam gym mats and portable pop-up tents for outdoor activities.
“We presented the check to the Board of Education,” said Duane Sonneborn, treasurer for the GCA. “We were looking to donate funds and when we were approached by Jocelyn Palaganas, the PTA president, about the schools’ needs, we were happy to help.”
The Gardens Civic Association is a nonprofit organization made up of residents in the Gardens section of Ocean City.
Each year the GCA members organize community events, including beach and yard cleanups and the Fourth of July bike parade in the north end.
The GCA also donates to worthy causes.
“Obviously, people in the Gardens have kids in the Primary and Intermediate schools. Our donation helps them, and it helps the other kids in Ocean City,” Sonneborn noted.
Palaganas, who recently joined the Gardens Civic Association, said that with COVID-19, so much of the PTA fundraising efforts have stalled or have gone virtual.
“Since I became involved in the GCA, I thought I could ask for the donation because it is very important for the schools to have these supplies,” Palaganas said of the mask clips and the mats.
She continued, “The association has a very successful membership and money to give. I had these two grants sent to the PTA for the supplies. But everything was frozen.”
With fundraising capabilities limited to virtual and online, the process of raising money for needed school supplies slows down.
“We are trying to maintain what we have,” Palaganas explained. “Donations like those from the association really helps.”
Palaganas commended Sonneborn and the other leaders of the association.
“They offered the donation without hesitation,” she said. “They were very happy to see the opportunity come about to help. They are trying to grow their membership, and this is a good way to do it by getting involved and giving money to the community.”