Monday, August 31, 2020 / by Rachel Green
UPDATE: As of September 25th, Love Lake City has raised $2,833 + 30 Backpacks + 25 Avon Kits + 10ish bags of school supplies for kids in Granit School District who are experiencing housing insecurity. After our first shopping trip for necessities, we thought we should have titled this project, Backpack and Back-to-School Necessities Drive. Non-food items that kids are needing to go back to school, whether in the classroom or distance learning, span far greater than backpacks, notebooks, and pencils. For many students, having deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, laundry detergent, and even tampons is important, but often overlooked.
hello and welcome back! It's been a moment since we completed our 10-week #ShareHappy project. Of course things for everyone are a little discombobbled thanks to all things 2020, so we've been looking for ways to get everyone involved, without risking anyone's health and still doing something awesome in the community. That's when we learned that some kids returning to school are in critical need.
We sat down [social-distance style] with the McKinney-Vento Liaison for Grantie School District, whose role is to help students who are experiencing housing insecurity. What a moment it was, hearing about kids – kids! who don't have a regular place to lay their heads at night, or the basic supplies to be successful students.
Dr. Thomas: This is a really broad term that is inclusive of any student who is homeless, living in a car, or in a campground, in condemned housing, in a building not intended for residential use [ie an abandoned building or commercial space], living in emergency housing [such as a shelter], an unaccompanied minor, or living with another family on a temporary basis, causing overcrowding or unsafe conditions.
LLC: Wow! That's a lot for a kid to deal with. How can we help?
Dr. Thomas: September means school is back in session! And whether students are returning to the school building, attending via distance learning, or doing a hybrid of the two, they are going to need supplies! For students experiencing housing insecurity, obtaining back-to-school essentials is not an easy task. That is why I thought Love Lake City could help us in collecting donations to be donated to Granite School District to help prepare students for the upcoming school year.
LLC: Awesome! Why Granite School District?
Dr. Thomas: Over the summer, I took on the role of McKinney-Vento Liaison for Granite School District.
LLC: What is a McKinney-Vento Liaison?
Dr. Thomas: The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is federal law that provides funding and support for students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. That could be in the form of living with another family due to financial hardship; living in a hotel, shelter, or car; or a minor who is without their parent or guardian.
The federal dollars cover school breakfast and lunch as well as school fees, and every school district in the nation has at least one liaison, like myself or my colleague Shannalee Otanez. It is our job to connect students, families, and schools with resources and support services.
Granite School District consistently provides support for over 1,000 students who are experiencing housing insecurity. These students are across all age groups and in every single school in the district.
LLC: What do the kids need for back to school?
Dr. Thomas: Although this list is long, it is not exhaustive. These are the things we have the fewest of. Share the details or just share the categories. Mostly, this is what we are looking for: What do you and your kids need when getting ready for school? That's what our kids need.
- Backpacks [new or very gently used]
- School Supplies [New/ Unused]
- Spiral notebooks
- 3-ring binders
- Crayons/Markers/Colored pencils
- Pencil holders/Pencil boxes
- Books [reading material for kids of all ages/reading levels]
- Clothes [New]
- Hygiene Products [New]
- Face wash
- Hair ties
- Lice kits
- Masks [schools are providing them to students, but kids and families need access to more]
- Hand Sanitizer
Dr. Thomas: I'm glad you asked! It is true, some schools don't allow backpacks to be carried class to class. It is also true that, this year in the time of COVID, some schools have done away with lockers to keep large groups from forming.
But even in this weird -- perhaps especially in this weird time -- backpacks are still critically important for kids of all grades. The importance of a backpack stretches beyond a place to cram loose papers and pencils, carry textbooks, and catch loose crumbs from the snacks saved from lunch that day. For kids who do not have a permanent nighttime residence, backpacks are a place to keep their sacred personal items. For kids who are living in a communal space, whether that is in a shelter or on a friend's couch, backpacks are a way to keep their things -- books, clothes, hygiene products, food -- all together.
LLC: WOW! This is so much information and we are excited to help! Thank you for the time to share with us the work you’re doing as well as the needs of these kids and to help us better understand that need.
Dr. Thomas: Thank YOU! I can’t wait to see what we can do, working together on this!
There are 2 ways to get involved:
1. Donate: To donate, call or text Rachel, Clint, or Sarah. You can either drop off donations or send Venmo and Rachel, Clint, and Sarah will shop for necessities on this list.
2. Share this project with your friends, family, and on social media.
We want to do everything we can to eliminate the disadvantage that housing-insecure kids are experiencing as they return to school.
Love Lake City is a monthly service project, co-founded by Rachel Green [founder of SaltLakeHomes.com] and Clint Warner, Realtor at SaltLakeHomes.com. Visit lovelakecity.org for more information and to get involved in this or any other project.