Hundreds Of Homeless Students Find What They Need Through School - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Hundreds Of Homeless Students Find What They Need Through School

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KALISPELL -

Hundreds of homeless students in Kalispell and Evergreen work with one woman who gets them food, a ride to school, and clean clothes.

"I've called her any time and said, 'hey Ronda, can you assist me with this?' and she would go above and beyond to see what she could do," said Alicia McCletchey, a mom to two Evergreen students.

McCletchey was surfing couches with a 12-year-old and an 8-year-old last July. Today, she's unpacking boxes in her brand new, three bedroom apartment, and it all started here with the HEART locker, Homeless Education and Resources Together.

Family and student advocate Ronda Stevens opened up this trove of donated clothes in April.

"I saw this opportunity and thought 'you know, this is my chance to maybe give back,' and I had a lot to give back because I was fortunate," said Stevens.

Only Kalispell and Evergreen teachers, plus the students, can come here for not only clothes, but also toiletries and school supplies. There's also the HEART Fund that can cover a kid's immediate needs.

People can drop off stuff for the Locker at school when school is in session. Stevens takes great pains to make sure students who are shopping don't run into any of their friends who might be volunteering because of how charged the label homeless can be.

"I went months and months without having any assistance whatsoever so without the HEART Locker, I definitely wouldn't be where I am right now," said McCletchey.

Stevens works with about 220 kids one-on-one who don't have a steady place to sleep at night.

"Identification is probably my biggest, number one challenge. It's hard, not just mine, anyone's. Of course families do not want to be labeled homeless," said Stevens.

It may look plentiful, but they're working with a shoestring budget, mainly fueled by a $10,000 grant each year from the state.

If you want to help out the heart locker, you can email Stevens at stevensr@sd5.k12.mt.us or call 406.890.0639.

 

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