Trillium Lakelands District School Board has put out a call to the community to help support local families struggling to make ends meet.
Established in 2020 at a time when people were experiencing job loss and food and financial insecurity, the Feed All Four fund is a confidential accessible way for the school board to offer resources to families in need. The brainchild of director of education Wes Hahn, money raised goes towards purchasing gift cards for essential items such as food, gas, clothing and toiletries.
Since its launch, the fund has distributed over $70,000 to 168 families across TLDSB’s coverage area.
“We’re really proud of that… When you look at our equity journey and what we’re trying to do as a school board, this has been a wonderful addition. This fund is another way for our school board to take part in actively supporting families experiencing difficulties at different times of the year,” Hahn said.
School principals have been one of the main driving forces behind the fund during its formative years. They identify families who may need assistance, make contact and then organize pick up or drop off of gift cards and other supports. They also consider any requests that come in from the community.
Outside of regular, everyday supplies, Hahn said the board has also helped finance new hearing aids and glasses for some students.
“Some of the testimonials we’ve heard have been touching. I’ve had principals call me and they’re almost in tears with the experience they’ve had,” Hahn said. “This is making a big difference in people’s lives.”
With inflation driving up the costs of most products and services in recent months, the board is preparing for an influx of requests. While the fund has been largely supported in-house by TLDSB staff and select community partners, Hahn said the board is now looking for assistance from the community to meet demand.
During a recent board meeting Alexia Evans-Turnbull, a Grade 12 student from Huntsville High School and a member of TLDSB’s G7 Student Senate, said she’d like to see students getting involved, bringing up the idea of hosting a clothing drive boardwide.
Hahn said staff already had a few fundraisers organized for the fall, with a buy-in jersey day to be held Nov. 18.
“TLDSB will continue to grow the fund as needed… we ask anyone in the community who has the means to do so to support us. We’ve already had people call up and ask to donate,” Hahn said. “We will continue to promote the availability of the fund and raise awareness in our school and communities…. We’re here to support [our families].”
For more information or to contribute, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.