Rickee Stewart had volunteered with her school’s food bank before, so she knew that her Utah district served homeless students. But she had never imagined the scale of the problem: 2,100 students across the district were registered as homeless.
“We’d learned that one of our students had lived outside for his entire Junior year. And that just broke me.”
When she got engaged last summer, she decided to use her registry to make a difference. She went to 99Papers.org and created a classroom project for shoes and warm coats. Here’s what happened next.
Rickee isn’t alone. Last year, we surveyed teachers at high-poverty schools and found that 84% of teachers had purchased at least one item to help meet students’ most basic needs. They spend that money because they know it matters. As Rickee put it, “A kid that is coming to my class cold, or hungry, or worried about where they’re going to be that night — there is no way these kids can focus on the things I’m teaching them.”