28 Jun Palm Project’s Impact
Palm Project, the Baldwin County Education Coalition’s newest initiative to engage the Baldwin County community in meeting the tangible needs of students wrapped up an inaugural year of service with an impact that will not soon be forgotten.
“With 56% of our students classified as economically disadvantaged, a poverty indicator, the need is great,” said Terry Burkle, Executive Director for the Baldwin County Education Coalition. “We are honored to coordinate this effort that will provide tangible items, most of which we take for granted in our own homes, that are essential for a child’s academic success.”
Palm Project serves as a resource utilized by school counselors to assist each school in stocking their individual care closets based on the unique needs of the school. Counselors place orders monthly with Palm Project and orders are packaged by volunteers and delivered to the schools. The simplicity of the process frees up time for the school counselors so they can focus on meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of their students.
“This program has been instrumental in helping me as a school counselor meet the needs of our students,” said Tomica Wiggins, Counselor at Magnolia School. “I cannot thank you enough for all that you are doing to support our schools.”
In early 2022, the Coalition developed and launched palmproject.info, an e-commerce page to manage inventory, track items, and for schools to place orders. Warehouse space was identified and set up to store inventory and process orders on a monthly basis. In September 2022, Palm Project was ready to soft launch to five schools. Additional schools were added in November, and on January 25, 2023, Palm Project launched county wide serving 48 public schools in Baldwin County.
This inaugural year set the tone for a successful and impactful future for Palm Project. A total of $164,420 was raised through direct donations and grant funding. The Coalition fulfilled 148 orders, distributing 5,100 items at a cost of only $27,478.86. Compared to the actual retail value of items distributed, $57,102.79, the Coalition demonstrated responsible fiscal management of funds received, proving the organization is a good steward of the generous contributions of the community.
“The Palm Project has been a wonderful resource for our school,” said Jaime Sansoucie, Counselor at Foley Middle School. “We have been able to help so many students and families in need!”
The most distributed items include stress balls and fidget toys, boys and girls deodorant, cases of water, journals, flushable wipes, earbuds, disinfecting wipes, chips and head lice treatment kits. While 5,100 items were ordered this year, to illustrate the true quantities distributed, looking at the multi pack item totals is pivotal to understand the impact Palm Project is having in Baldwin County Schools:“This program has been our miracle. It has allowed us to level the playing field and relieve the stress and worries of basic survival. Students can shift their focus to their education,” said Mary Tomlinson, Counselor at Perdido School. “It has the potential to help break the chains of poverty, lower dropout rates, decrease stress and anxiety of the students and provide a better life for them.”
“We are elated at the community support for Palm Project,” said Burkle. “We appreciate every donor, sponsor, supply drive and volunteer. Palm Project would not be possible without the selfless contributions of many people and organizations.”