P.O.K.E KICKS OFF COMMUNITY WATER DRIVE
FOR BULLHEAD CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT
BULLHEAD CITY – When schools across the country began adjusting for a resumption of classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, an unexpected recommendation from health professionals resulted in a drastic change: the disconnection of student drinking fountains. The move was to prevent children from touching and possibly contaminating faucets and handles, spreading the virus. Even though many local parents send their children to school with bottled water, others either can’t afford it, or children forget their reusable water bottles at home.
Enter the Colorado River Women’s Council and its P.O.K.E. (Protect Our Kids’ Environment) Committee. When P.O.K.E. chair Melinda Sobraske heard about the dilemma, she quickly arranged for a pallet of water to be donated to the Bullhead City Elementary School District. Distribution has already begun, with an ongoing goal of at least one case of water for each of the 150 Pre-K through grade 8 classrooms in the District. Sobraske, a former BCESD school board member, was previously a BCESD teacher and principal. “Our bottled water drive is now in full force, and once again P.O.K.E and Women’s Council have stepped up to help our students,” said BCESD Superintendent Carolyn Stewart.
“We are both pleased and proud that they are our launch donors for such an important effort, because they continue to do so much for our students.”
Earlier this year, P.O.K.E. supplied BCESD with emergency classroom porta-potties to be used if there are school lockdowns, with grants from Tri-State Pain Institute and Advanced Animal Care in Ft. Mohave. Several years ago, P.O.K.E members had another emergency water drive for area schools. And in 2016, P.O.K.E. in conjunction with the BHHS Legacy Foundation, supplied most area K-8 classrooms with devices known as “The Sleeve,” designed for active shooter situations. P.O.K.E has also restocked first aid kits for schools’ emergency backpacks.
“Women’s Council has always supported the schools and the kids,” Sobraske said. “This is just another way we thought we could assist both during a challenging time for our community, our educators, our students and their families.” Donated bottled water should be in unopened clear plastic-sealed retail or wholesale cases. Multiple cases are preferred. Businesses, service clubs, charitable organizations and individuals interested in donating should email [email protected], or call 928-219-3012, for more information or to schedule drop-offs at the BCESD warehouse. Stewart noted that BCESD is looking for a more permanent solution, such as touchless water fountains, as well as something more environmentally friendly than using disposable plastic water bottles that are normally only used once, such as a large supply of reusable bottles.