A mom in Vermont created a Facebook fundraiser that raked in more than $7,000 to help her school district’s hardworking janitorial staff.
On Sunday, parent Brooke Thomas told CNN that two schools in her children’s district were closed for two days last week after a staff member exhibited cold-like symptoms.
Thomas said the employee — who she said later tested negative for the coronavirus — stayed at an out-of-state hotel where cases had been detected.
In a letter sent to parents, the district explained that while Allen Brook School and Williston Central School were closed, custodial teams would deep clean the facilities to protect students and staff from exposure.
While discussing the situation with fellow parents in a private Facebook group, Thomas recommended that the janitors be honored for their tireless efforts.
“I said that we need to recognize that these staff members who are going into potential contamination and a disaster zone, really, and putting themselves at risk,” she told CNN.
“They were potentially exposing themselves to this virus and to harmful chemicals,” Thomas added to “Today.” “I think the comment made everyone realize that those were the people going right into it. That kind of started it.”
On March 9, Thomas created a Facebook fundraiser where “the funds raised will be divided equally among the custodians as a heartfelt thank you for their service and commitment to a healthy and safe environment for our school children.”
Though its initial goal was $200, the page raised over $2,000 the next day.
When the fundraiser ended March 16, it had reaped $7,450 from 249 donors.
“It’s already an underappreciated job as it is, and not one that gets a lot of respect,” Thomas added to CNN. “It was feel-good way to get people to recognize that and promote kindness when this mass hysteria is happening.”
Williston Schools Lead Principal Greg Marino told CNN in an email, “The school was truly touched by this heartwarming effort.”