The Safety Net committee that raises funds for students in the Meramec Valley R-III School District who are identified as homeless continue their work during the summer months, according to Deborah Baker, committee member.
“We will host a breakfast fundraiser at the Tri-County Senior Center on Sunday, July 8,” Baker said.
The event is to help raise funds for students in need during the 2018-19 school year.
The breakfast will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. The cost is $9 for adults and $5 for children age 6 to 12. Children 5 and under eat free.
“Bank Star, Citizens Bank of Pacific and First State Community Bank of Pacific are sponsoring the breakfast, paying for the supplies so that all funds raised will go to the homeless student fund,” Baker said.
Safety Net also will host a painting party fundraiser at the senior center scheduled for Thursday, July 26, from 5 to 9 p.m.
“We’re a caring community,” Baker said. “We want these students to have the same school life as youngsters who live in a traditional home.”
Since the Safety Net committee was formed, the organization has raised funds that transported students from their temporary homes to their school, paid student activities and child care for working parents, purchased clothing, textbooks, school supplies and emergency housing as families organize temporary residences.
Most families were displaced due to a parent losing their job. The two floods in 2015 and 2017 displaced still more families, but most of those are arranging permanent housing.
Dr. Stephanie Bechard, district homeless student coordinator, works with school counselors and principals to identify every homeless student and make sure that the Safety Net funds are used to meet the needs of those students.
Carol Johnson heads the Safety Net program that provides occasional gift cards from local restaurants to each family member. To date, the program has provided more than 600 individual meals to families who are not in a traditional home.
“You might not think of a child living in their grandparents’ basement as homeless, but they don’t have the resources that they had before their homes were lost,” Johnson said. “We’re committed to serve these students and their families.”
The Pacific Eagles has donated to Safety Net with both cash and allowing 50/50 drawings during occasional bingo nights.
“This is a community effort,” said Dan McClain, Eagles president and bingo chair. “When Pauline Masson and I started this program three years ago, it was to make sure that every student enjoys all the benefits of school life. Safety Net has been able to make an impact on many students and we will continue to work toward that.”