BELOIT, Wis. - It’s Giving Tuesday, and the School District of Beloit is asking people to consider giving fast food gift cards to students in need.
The district’s homeless liaison coordinator said school officials have identified nearly 370 students who need help making it between meals, and 78 of those students are unaccompanied homeless teens.
“These are teens that are couch surfing, usually not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, so they don’t usually have parents to help them get food,” Robin Stuht said.
Tashiana McAllister is a senior of Beloit Learning Academy. She said getting gift cards for food help her focus better in school.
“When I’m not in school, I don’t eat unless I’m at work or at a friend’s,” she said. “So with the gift cards, they help a lot.”
Stuht said the district is looking for fast food gift card donations of at least $5 to give to students to make sure they have meals outside of school.
“Last week, we had somebody over break, like, he didn’t eat for three days when school wasn’t in,” Stuht said. “So we just know how important it is for us to be able to offer that to some of our homeless teens when they’re not in school.”
On average, Stuht said, about 300 students receive at least one gift card during the school year. She said the busiest time is now.
“It’s usually about this time of year that families start having a hard time or they’re getting evicted and shelters are full,” Stuht said. “So the needs become so much greater at this time of year, and our resources go very, very quickly.”
She said the gift cards give students more than just a hot meal and warm place to sit and study, it also lets them feel loved and cared for.
“When they ask where these came from and we tell them, ‘Your community care about you and wants to see you reach your potential, and this is how they’re helping.' That’s maybe the first time anybody’s ever told them they care,” Stuht said.
McAllister said it’s nice to know people besides her family care about her.
“It’s hard to find people that actually genuinely care, so when you have that, it just makes your days go by better and faster,” she said.
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Wright School at 1033 Woodward Ave., in Beloit.
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