Community called to thank educators

The event flyer, created by Bethany Prange Booher.

Another pandemic school year means another tough time for educators. 

Realizing this, three Waterloo elementary moms found a way to say “thank you.” 

Lyndsay Chism, Kristen Vogt and Bethany Prange Booher are asking community members to help them stock teachers’ lounges with non-alcoholic refreshments this month, dubbing the initiative “Fill the Fridge February.” 

Those interested can drop off drinks at select local businesses all month. 

“It’s to show thanks to the teachers – but not just the teachers, faculty and staff members (too) – thanks for what you do for our kids,” Chism said. “You have them a third of their childhood – thanks for being with them, especially with the craziness of the pandemic.” 

First introduced to the idea on social media, Chism contacted Vogt and Prange Booher to help create a Waterloo version, with Prange Booher using her digital marketing skills to make graphics and a Facebook event page.

All three women felt it was important to do as they witnessed their kids’ teachers battle unique challenges. 

“Our teachers are with our kids every day of the week and are seeing the kids and are helping them cope with the changes that we’ve all been through over the last few years,” Prange Booher said. “The teachers themselves are experiencing unprecedented things in the education system (like) trying to juggle the remote learning and teaching on top of the daily lesson plans, so when Lyndsay mentioned it to me, I thought, ‘This is a great way to show our appreciation in a small way for the teachers and faculty who have been putting in the long hours and putting in the long hours and a lot of extra work on top of an already difficult job.’” 

During all this, Vogt noticed her kids’ teachers have been as responsive as ever. 

“I also feel like going into the pandemic, the teachers and the faculty thought ‘This might just be a short-lived thing.’ And they have worked so hard and tirelessly over the last almost two years, so they definitely deserve something,” Vogt said. “They have been available at any time – our teachers that we’ve dealt with at least, their communication has been fantastic during this time. So we just want to say thank you.”

The three set a goal to provide drinks to all schools district-wide, so they are in need of many donations, hence they knew it was important to provide many drop off options. 

Community members can drop beverages off at the following Waterloo businesses during their normal business hours:

• The Clothes Line Boutique, 100 S. Market Street

• Balanced Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center, 210 N. Market Street. 

• Amy Hank Real Estate Team Keller Williams Pinnacle, 129 S. Main Street. 

On Feb. 27, Chism and Vogt will be taking donations in-person at the Waterloo Rural King from noon to 2 p.m. 

For questions – including information on how to donate funds via Venmo or gift cards – email Chism at Vogt added that the team is flexible on donation methods should one not be able to make it to drop-off locations. 

“Anything that is accommodating for anybody who wants to help, we are more than willing to do that,” Vogt said. 

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Madison Lammert

Madison is a reporter at the Republic-Times. She has over six years of experience in journalistic writing. Madison is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mass communications. Before graduating and working at the Republic-Times, Madison worked for SIUE’s student newspaper, The Alestle, for many years. During her time there she filled many roles, including editor-in-chief. When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her dog and try new restaurants across the river.
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