Big Fish partners to fund basic needs closets in schools

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Gov. John Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long recently announced a new partnership with Big Fish Charitable Foundation to help Delaware schools stock basic needs closets.

These closets provide elementary and middle school students across the state with increased access to free items such as school supplies, hygiene products and other essentials to meet students’ needs so they can effectively participate and learn in the classroom.

Through the partnership with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, Big Fish Charitable Foundation will hold events and fundraising promotions at Big Fish Restaurant Group establishments to provide additional funding for the basic needs effort.

“Thank you to Lt. Gov. Hall-Long for taking the reins of this initiative, and to the Big Fish Charitable Foundation for joining the many partners supporting basic needs closets and making a difference in the lives of Delaware children,” said Carney.

The basic needs closets, which launched in August 2017 in 43 high-need schools across the state, are a result of the coordinated efforts of Delaware educators, businesses, and healthcare institutions, and a partnership with First Book.

“We know that the physical and emotional health of our students is directly related to their success and ability to learn,” said Hall-Long. “The partnership with Big Fish Charitable Foundation and the basic needs closets program will allow us to continue to serve students across our state and provide them with the best chance to achieve, and become stronger and healthier.”

“The basic needs school closet program is a great program; it’s a perfect fit for our foundation. It allows us to help a lot of children, and it’s a program that has a lot of room for growth, which will allow us to keep growing as a charitable organization,” said Brian Mann, executive director of Big Fish Charitable Foundation. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be partnering with the governor and Lieutenant Governor’s Office in their efforts to make free basic need items available for the kids who need them the most.”

The Big Fish Charitable Foundation is a nonprofit organization created in 2013 by brothers and co-founders of the Big Fish Restaurant Group, Norman and Eric Sugrue, and the group’s Vice President Holly Monaco. The mission of the foundation is to engage in charitable work that benefits children in need.

Each school’s basic needs closet is stocked with products identified by districts and charter schools as essential to the well-being of their students. Students are able to discreetly access the closets throughout the school year. The initiative aims to meet students’ basic needs with dignity so they can be ready to learn in class.

“This generous support perfectly reflects the kind of business and community partnerships our schools need,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting.