The federal Mckinney-Vento Act requires every school district in the United States to have a homeless liaison to assist with the enrollment of homeless students. Many times these liaisons also help families with things such as school supplies, personal hygiene items, and household items like laundry and dish soap.
Personal care items
I am a case worker and counselor in our local homeless liaison’s office, and we give out these things on a daily basis. Just yesterday I met a high school student who had been living in her car. Providing her with things like a toothbrush, toothpaste and a bar of soap had her beaming with joy. She hadn't had these things in quite a while.
A few months ago I had a mom in my office who just obtained housing. While she had the money to pay her first month's rent and a deposit, she had nothing to clean her new home with. She did not have laundry soap to use in her new washer and dryer. These are things I take for granted. I do not worry day to day about having enough toothpaste for my children to brush their teeth or enough laundry soap so that my children can go to school with clean clothing. But this mom did, and I was honored to be able to help her with these items.
How to donate
School district staff often donate out of their own pocketbooks to help families and students such as these—pocketbooks that weren't overflowing to begin with. And I realize your pocketbook probably isn't overflowing either. But the next time you grab a great deal on hygiene items, household cleaner, or school supplies, why not take a small donation by your local school district homeless liaison's office? If you do not know who the liaison is, office staff at your school should be able to connect you with them. Couponing is great, but when you can use it to help a family in need, it becomes awesome!
This is a guest post by Stephanie from Amarillo, TX.