By Josh Rouwhorst
While most K-12 students bundle up going to school through the winter, students from financially challenged households need some help to keep warm. The problem is worse than most would think.
According to a recent MLive article, Kent County has more than 2,300 homeless K-12 students. That includes 797 homeless students in Grand Rapids Public Schools alone.
Nicole Dembinski is a 3rd-grade teacher from Stocking Schools. Some of her students didn’t even have jackets. So she reached out for help. Michelle Truskowski and Brenda Bierens decided to take on the project of gathering winter clothes and taking them to kids in need.
So far, they have supplied clothing to Stocking, Martin Luther King Jr., Burton Elementary and Dickinson schools. They are choosing the schools based on poverty level. School teachers and administrators help determine which kids are in need.
How to Help
If you have winter clothing for kids aged 5-18, you can help out too. You can call Michelle at (616) 481-9224 or Brenda at (616) 481-1191 to schedule a pickup. You can also drop off clothes at La Casa de la Cobija at 2355 S. Division, thanks to owner Angelica Velazquez. Check their Facebook page for more information.
These women are showing that the problems we face can be solved. That we do not need to accept the negative impacts of bad legislation. We can decide to make our community the one we wish it was. Where good people with a little more help lift up those with a little less.