Penn State Abington coat drive nets more than 500 coats for kids in need

McClure elementary

Penn State Abington juniors fit children at McClure Elementary with winter coats.

Credit: Zack Gething

ABINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Abington students majoring in elementary and early childhood education led a campus-wide drive that netted more than 500 winter coats for children in need at its partnership school in North Philadelphia. 

Junior education majors loaded up their cars with bags full of jackets and headed for McClure Elementary School, where Abington students helped the children “shop” for different sizes and colors. One Abington student, Karlee Hoffman, donated almost 600 hats and pairs of gloves so that each child at McClure would receive a set.

Education students at Abington recognize that barriers to learning can reach far beyond the schoolyard and can include food, housing and clothing insecurity. 

“Abington teacher candidates discuss meeting the needs of the whole child, and today they were able to experience this firsthand," said Ann Martinelli, education program chair and associate teaching professor.

"Service learning takes teaching to the next level and develops teachers who are able to see not just content but the whole person," she added. "Our McClure partnership provides Abington teacher candidates with authentic experiences where they get to see pedagogy come alive.” 

Abington McClure

Penn State Abington juniors delivered hats and gloves to every student at McClure Elementary in North Philadelphia.

Credit: Zack Gething

Now in its sixth year, the coat drive is an outgrowth of the partnership between Abington and McClure Elementary. The relationship allows the Abington education students to gain experience that helps them develop as teachers, while McClure receives services that support its high potential but high need community. 

Abington education faculty established community partnerships with four elementary schools in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties that reflect the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the region. 

Students in the education major work closely with partnership schools. Several times a year, they collaborate:

  • The Abington students donate time and talent, spending time at the elementary schools observing and teaching mini-lessons.
  • The children come to Abington to learn about science, writing from popular children’s authors and other topics. Equally important, the children are exposed to a college campus — likely a first for many.
  • Abington faculty host professional development with experts in literacy, diversity and other specialties for the education majors and invite teachers from the partnership schools to join them.

About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 21 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics and more.