TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Twin Falls School District kicked off its 2nd annual Avenues For Hope campaign, which provides local students in need with school supplies and other valuable resources.
According to the school district, from 2018 to 2019 there were 420 schoolchildren and siblings that could be identified as homeless. This is based on qualifications from the McKinney-Vento Program.
While these students may be declared homeless, it does not necessarily mean they are living on the street or out of a vehicle. It could mean the family is living out of a motel or even with another family.
"Oftentimes we find those families are struggling in other ways as well. Whether it be just to keep food on the table or in the pantry or if it's to make sure they have the school supplies they need or clothing," says Eva Craner, PIO for Twin Falls School District.
The district hopes to raise enough money through the digital campaign, but the door is also open for in-person donations.
"At any time, we take blankets, food, hygiene products," explains Bill Brulotte, the school district's Associate Superintendent. "We're more than willing to use those and give them to the students in the Twin Falls School district and their families."
Due to COVID, there has been increased economic hardship for many families, especially with the upcoming holiday season. The district is planning for an increase in families who may need support.
"Some of the families that we are assisting are needing a little bit extra help than they have in the past and already seeing more families that have never accessed or accessing our pantries," said Brulotte.
Craner adds that some of the families that typically provide donations are now in need of some type of assistance.
While all sorts of resources are needed, such as food, hygiene products, and other school supplies, the district is currently seeing a demand for winter supplies as the cold temperatures continue.
"A lot of the times, these families are having to make really tough decisions about which bills to pay and which things to provide. One choice that they sometimes make is to turn the heat down so they can afford their gas or power bill, and the result is that they're cold. So, we can provide blankets and warm clothes for those families in those situations," said Craner.
The digital campaign will be accepting donations from December 10 through December 31. For those who would like to donate, the website can be accessed through this link.