School board's foundation helping families left without income, social supports
The fund usually gives out around $130,000 to families, but expects more this year
Principals and teachers at the Thames Valley District School Board are identifying more families than ever before who are in need of emergency money to help cover the basics of life during the pandemic.
The increased demand for financial assistance has sparked a fundraising campaign by the Thames Valley Education Foundation. It's called Caring Champions.
"Even though schools are closed, principals and teachers remain in contact with students and are aware of the special challenges faced by some of our families during this time," said Jackie Ellefsen, who heads the foundation.
Last year, the fund gave out more than $134,000 to families in need. The demand is expected to increase to more than $160,000 this year.
Already, principals and teachers have helped 83 families financially impacted by the pandemic, including:
- A mother and her children who were left vulnerable due to domestic violence and abuse. The foundation was contacted by the principal of the school, and provided $500 in emergency funding until other social supports could be put in place.
- A principal contacted the foundation about a student who lives with six younger siblings and his extended family. The student's grandfather is the family's sole income-earner, but his hours have been cut because of the pandemic.
Last year, 400 families with the Thames Valley District School Board got emergency financial support from the foundation.
London law firm Harrison Pensa is a corporate sponsor of the foundation, and has pledged to match a portion of community donations brought in during May.
"We are proud to partner with (the foundation) on the Caring Champions campaign," said Adam Jean, Harrison Pensa's chief operating officer
"We understand that now, more than ever, students and families in our community need extra support."