Brandy Mason of Magnolia has been busy preparing for her children to go back to school like many parents throughout Kent County. She prepared not just for three of her boys. She also orgainzed a drive to collect clothes and shoes for students whose familes are homeless.


Brandy Mason of Magnolia has been busy preparing for her children to go back to school like many parents throughout Kent County.

Her eldest of four boys, Christopher J. Mason, 15, is returning to John S. Charlton School while her 3-year-old son Joseph M.W. Mason is entering the Charlton program within Nelly H. Stokes Elementary.

Meanwhile, T. Orion Mason, 13, is headed to F. Neil Postlethwait, one of the Caesar Rodney School District’s middle schools.

Their first day of school was today.

Between all this and caring for her 19-month-old, Timothy, Brandy Mason has been busy trying to collect clothes and shoes for needy children at Charlton.

But it is a deed Mason has pursued with a passion. She began the drive as part of her church’s missionary work. But she also she wanted to give back to the school that has done much for her eldest son and will now serve her third son as well, she said.

And when she heard there are some students who are classified as homeless, that just increased the sense of urgency for her.

“I have deep roots in this school,” Mason said. “My oldest has been going there since pre-k. He was diagnosed with trainable mental disability. I never thought he would speak clearly, read, write or do math but he has a drive to learn. He is so intelligent.

“Joseph was not speaking but a few single words a few months ago when he started Charlton on his third birthday. Now he is using three-word sentences,” she said.

Mason’s drive has netted nearly 20 bags of clothing that are sitting in her home, waiting to be distributed through the school. In addition to individuals, several of the clothes come from a friend’s consignment store, Back on the Rack that recently went out of business.

Mason and her husband have managed to prepare for their own children’s return to school, for the most part. They still have to go shoe shopping.

But she realizes how lucky her family is. Mason was surprised to learn that some students at Charlton are classified as homeless.

Charlton Assistant Principal Kristina Failing declined to state how many families are classified as homeless, citing the McKinney-Vento Act. Among other things, this federal law protects the identity of these families, which number about 1.35 million in the United States. U.S. Congress passed McKinney-Vento when it learned that 50 percent of homeless children were not attending school.

School provides “a nice, safe haven” for the children of these families.

While it is in Caesar Rodney, the Charlton School serves all of Kent County, she said.

“Sometimes, we don’t find out our families are homeless until we notice they’ve moved or we find out they’ve been bouncing around,” Failing said.

Mason’s efforts will help add to their sense of normalcy, Failing added.

Any families interested in obtaining clothes and toiletries can call the school at 697-3103 or email Kristina.Failing@cr.k12.de.us.