Harriet Tubman Center in Maplewood receives generous item donation from Tartan High School

Jordan Cich, left, Brandon Ong, center, and Ruth Pee are three of eight students who helped collect donations from Tartan students and staff, and deliver them to the Harriet Tubman Center East in Maplewood.

The Skills USA group from Tartan High School recently completed a community service project that involved collecting items such as clothes, toys, books, toiletries and jewelry for the Harriet Tubman Center East in Maplewood.

Skills USA is an organization that helps high school students learn essential skills they will need in a workplace setting. 

The eight students in the Tartan group organized a donation drive that collected 997 items, which were delivered on March 9. 

The Tartan Skills USA group organizes two or three service projects each school year.

“I believe it is important to help the Tubman shelter. because I know that it will make many of the residents there very happy,” said Tartan junior Ruth Pee.

She said the Tartan group wanted to help people in need, and after researching different organizations, the Tubman Center stood out.

The Harriet Tubman Center East provides shelter, legal services, mental and chemical health counseling, elder abuse resources, youth programming and community education. These services are provided for people who have experienced trauma such as addiction, sexual exploitation, relationship violence and elder abuse.

Jen Polzin, Harriet Tubman Center CEO, said that Tartan students have a long history of volunteering and gathering donations for the Tubman Center.

“Our relationship with Tartan High School goes back probably 15 or 20 years. ... They were right there with us since practically the beginning,” Polzin said.

According to its website, the Tubman Center helps 40,000 people each year. Many of those people arrive at the shelter with little more than the clothes they are wearing, so donations like the items gathered by Tartan’s students are always welcome. 

The Tubman Center even organizes a clothing boutique called Harriet’s Closet where community members can find free clothing. 

Harriet’s Closet specializes in helping people attain appropriate clothing for job interviews, court hearings and other professional occasions.

“We couldn’t donate what we do without groups like [Tartan’s]. They truly are amazing,” Polzin said.


Aundrea Kinney can be reached at akinney@lillienews.com or 651-749-7822.

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