District 207 raises $10K to support families with food, gift cards
District 207 raises $10K to support local families with food, gift cards
During these unprecedented times, school districts across the country are faced with a multitude of challenges, from implementing e-Learning, to feeding students who are not physically at school, to maintaining strong connections between students and their teachers and counselors.
When schools were closed recently to help ensure the safety and increase social distancing, Maine Township High School District 207 Superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace identified an additional challenge that would soon be facing schools: how to support families with food needs beyond what can be provided through the free and reduced lunch program, which remains in place even though school is not in session.
"We knew that many families in Maine Township already live paycheck to paycheck, and with the loss of many jobs that has already occurred and will continue, we knew we had to figure out a way to support those families with additional meal support beyond the free and reduced lunch program," Wallace said.
Wallace asked administrators to facilitate a donation drive Wednesday, March 18, and Friday, March 20. A donation link was emailed to District 207 parents, staff, students and community members who had signed up for the district's communications.
The information also was posted on the district and school websites and shared via the district and school social media accounts.
By Tuesday, March 24, more than $10,000 had been raised to support local families.
The message sent and posted shared: "We know these are unprecedented times in our community, our nation and our world. While most of the information we are hearing brings additional concerns, there also are many stories of people helping others during these difficult times right here in Maine Township.
"In District 207, we began working immediately this week to make sure that our students in need were fed, and we have joined with our elementary partner Districts 26, 62, 63, 64, and 79 to combine efforts to best serve our students and families.
"In the coming weeks, we expect that many of our families, in addition to being food insecure, may struggle to buy other household basics as jobs are lost during these difficult times. For that reason, we have established a way for the District 207 community to join efforts to provide support to our students, families and support staff members in greatest need.
"We are collecting money that will be used to purchase gift cards from local businesses that provide groceries and/or food. Those gift cards will be distributed to families and staff who are identified by school administrators."
The fundraising will continue as long as there is a need based upon the COVID-19 crisis in the area. Anyone who wants to donate to the fund can do so at bit.ly/207strong. Donors can also send a check to: Maine Township High School District 207, Attn: COVID-19 Food Drive Donation, c/o Karen McGovern, 1177 S. Dee Road, Park Ridge, IL 60068.
"What makes our Maine Township community so special is that we have always risen to the challenge in difficult moments," Wallace says.
"Our history is replete with examples, and this moment will be no exception. We are overwhelmed with the support that has been provided already and look forward to additional people in our school community assisting with this effort.