Westfield Rotary Club donates 30 backpacks filled with supplies for homeless high school students
The Rotary Club of Westfield has stepped up to help homeless children at the city’s high school by providing them with some of the supplies that most of their classmates take for granted.
Rotarians have recognized that some of the students in the city schools face challenges that the kids around them don’t and have rallied to help them by providing them with many of the personal care items and educational supplies which are routinely supplied to their classmates who have families to support them.
The Rotary effort has been spearheaded by member Andrea Allard, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Westfield, who worked with Carrie Hildreth-Fiordalice, School Adjustment Counselor for Westfield High School, to determine what the homeless students most need and to identify the students in need.
Westfield Rotary president Jennifer Gruszka said “The youth cannot succeed as adults without a proper education, yet these particular students are faced with financial difficulties that make it troublesome to purchase personal care items and educational supplies. The students often feel isolated as they do not have the means to purchase these necessary supplies.”
She said that the homeless students often feel embarrassed to ask their peers for simple yet necessary materials. She said they are forced to ‘couch surf’, staying in the homes of various friends for short periods as space is available.
In their effort to help, the Westfield Rotarians purchased and filled 30 backpacks with personal care and educational items for the homeless students at Westfield High School.
The backpacks are filled with supplies needed for daily living and include personal care items such as bath towels, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and soap. They also include items needed in school - the backpack itself, pens, pencils, flash drives, notebooks, glue sticks, tape, markers, highlighters, folders and calculators.
Allard worked with high school staff and workers at the Domus House, a residence for homeless students, to identify recipients of the backpacks and to distribute the backpacks to them.