Holiday gifts came early to students at Harrisburg High School’s SciTech Campus in downtown Harrisburg, Pa., thanks to D&H Distributing, which donated a surplus inventory of technology and equipment last month following its move to new headquarters in mid-September. The SciTech Campus, which received the majority of the equipment donated to the district, is a magnet school focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Dan Schwab, co-president at D&H, says that while the firm moved a lot of its existing inventory to the new space, some items in great condition just didn’t fit. D&H wanted to donate the equipment where it would make the biggest impact.
The Harrisburg school system, like many public schools, has faced some budget difficulties, he notes. But there’s a personal connection for Schwab as well. “I had a lot of involvement in volunteering within the schools, so it's near and dear to my heart,” he explains. “Our company has done a lot of different volunteer programs, and there are a lot of needy organizations, but in this case a lot of the products really fit with the classroom.”
D&H invited faculty and students from the SciTech Campus to the distributor’s former Seventh Street offices to select the items they wanted, which included projectors, projector screens, monitors, desks, chairs, couches, whiteboards, cork boards, refrigerators, appliances, filing cabinets, shredders, tables, and more.
“I would probably describe it as a shopping spree,” Schwab says. “We invited them to come in and take as much as your heart desires, as many truck loads as you can fill up, as many days as you need. Hopefully we can add value with product[s] that can enhance the learning experience.”
“We ended up getting a little goldmine of things we needed,” says Kirsten Keys, public relations director for the district. She adds that the students were excited to be able to go throughout the building with their ideas and look for different items for activities.
The technology items such as whiteboards and monitors “were very much needed to include in our instruction,” says Dr. Sabina Grant-Spencer, assistant principal of Harrisburg High School, SciTech Campus. “We were in need of various items that hadn’t been replaced in about 16 years, so it was a great honor to receive a donation of this magnitude to support our staff and students here at SciTech.”
She explained that students apply to the SciTech Campus and are admitted based on attendance and academic records, discipline, faculty recommendations, and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Each student also interviews with a team of teachers.
“We greatly appreciate the partnership [with D&H] and support to provide such a generous donation for the betterment of our students,” says Christopher Celmer, chief operating officer and acting assistant superintendent for the School District of Harrisburg. “The private partnership-community relationship is critical not only for the SciTech Campus but for the Harrisburg School District as a whole, and certainly this relationship is one we hope to replicate over the next couple of year with many different entities … to support our school district across all our campuses. ... This is a wonderful example of what is possible when people come together to really focus on what can be done to support our students in the community.”
Keys, a long-time resident of Harrisburg and a graduate of the district, adds that D&H has not only had an impact as a major employer in the heart of Harrisburg, it’s also a great connection for the SciTech students “to see that kind of corporate giving in support of their education from an employer that maybe one day they might have the opportunity to work for.”
For D&H, giving back is part of the distributor’s fabric, Schwab says. “I think it's meaningful for our employee-owners that we try and do the right thing. And we have a saying at D&H that we just want to be kind in this world. … We want to be kind to our customers, kind to our employees, and kind to our community.”
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