DELAND, Fla., August 14, 2017 On Aug. 10, Florida Hospital DeLand hosted a blessing ceremony for nearly 200 backpacks that were donated to first graders at Edith I. Starke Elementary.
Employees gathered with Florida Hospital DeLand chaplain Dan Ocampo to pray over the backpacks, which were filled to the brim with pencils, notebooks and various other school supplies.
Most of the students who attend Starke Elementary School in DeLand are from an impoverished population; approximately 99-percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch.
What you are doing here is changing lives, and these kids need it. I can't even tell you how much this helps our kids, said Starke Elementary School vice principle Eilene Ahr to Florida Hospital DeLand employees during the blessing. Thank you so much for this wonderful gift.
During the 2014-15 school year, Starke Elementary School was the only school in Volusia County to receive an F score from the Florida Department of Education. But now, those scores have seen a dramatic improvement.
We're doing great things at the school. In fact, we were two points away from a B this year, and our reading scores have gone up, Ahr said.
Many of these children are living in poverty and in very tough situations. I'm so proud of our teams here for continuing this important ministry to the children of our community for more than 10 years, said Nicole Garbacik, event organizer and Florida Hospital DeLand clinical informatics manager. With these donations, our local children in need will have everything to start not just the school year, but their overall education, off right. It's something we are all so honored to be a part of.
About Florida Hospital DeLand
Florida Hospital DeLand is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 45 hospital campuses and 8,200 licensed beds in nine states, serving more than 5 million patients annually. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, Florida Hospital DeLand has 164-beds and is one of the seven Florida Hospitals in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties that composes the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region has 1,226 beds and more than 7,800 employees.