LaPlace Walmart, River Region Chamber team up to welcome new teachers

Published 12:33 pm Saturday, July 8, 2023

LAPLACE — A generous donation of more than $5,000 in school supplies from Walmart of LaPlace fueled the River Region Chamber of Commerce’s effort to welcome new teachers in the River Parishes.

The donation was made possible by Walmart’s General Manager Zina Robertson, Department Coach Melissa Scott and Team Lead Krystal King. Raychelle Harris, chair of the Foundation Committee for the River Region Chamber of Commerce, helped orchestrate the sizeable donation.

Additional thanks were given to RRCC Executive Director Chassity McComack, intern Rianna Lewis, and Bunge crew Kyle Greer, Christopher Poche, Ross Friedrich, Francisco Nasciamento, Tarsha Nelmas and Tevione Bigham, who endured the sweltering heat to transport boxloads of supplies from Walmart to the Chamber office.

The River Region Chamber collects items for new teachers to be distributed annually at orientation events in St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles parishes. The goal is to fill more than 200 bags with materials to help teachers survive their first school year, including staplers, pens, dry erase markers, folders and other classroom supplies. Also included are promotional items from local businesses always willing to lend a helping hand in the community.

This year, the new teacher distribution is a budding initiative of the Chamber’s new Foundation Committee. Formed in early 2023, the Foundation Committee is tasked with building sustainability for the Leadership River Region cohort, exploring grant opportunities to secure funding, and donating to causes that support sustainability.

“This is our first time working with Walmart in support of the teacher bag giveaway,” Harris said. “We hope this event as well as other events will grow stronger and stronger and that our community will collectively come together across the Tri-Parishes to make sure that everybody has what they need.”

Harris added that the new teacher initiative is close to her heart, especially considering educators are often overlooked and underpaid.

“If you don’t have educators, you won’t have any doctors or lawyers,” she said. “It’s near and dear to my heart because I have a family of educators. They are the foundation to our future and our community.”

Donations for new teachers can be dropped off to the Chamber office at 390 Belle Terre Blvd. in LaPlace through July 17. For more information, please contact the River Region Chamber of Commerce at 985-359-9777.