For the last several years, Cape Henlopen School District homeless liaisons have coordinated a community caring event around the holidays.
With the help of local community groups and individuals, many local kids in need will wake up on Christmas morning with gifts under their tree.
“We’ve held our community caring event for the last five years,” said David McDowell, homeless liaison for Cape Henlopen School District. “This event really brings the community together to help our students and local families in need during the holiday season.”
This year, the event contributed gifts to about 127 families and more than 300 children. “Students who are classified as homeless are the first to be given a donor,” said Shawna Steinmann, assistant homeless liaison. “After those students are accounted for, we work with the counselors in each of our buildings to help identify other families that could use the extra support during the holiday season.”
While many of the organizations choose to sponsor and donate to multiple families, several also collect blankets and pillows to be distributed as well. Nicola Pizza in Rehoboth Beach has collected and donated pajamas each year.
“Each family leaves with not only the gifts, but a blanket and a pillow for each member of the family,” said McDowell. “We’ve been fortunate with Nicola collecting and donating varying sizes of pajamas, so we’re able to provide all of the kids with a new set.”
Organizations dropped off their gifts and donations to volunteers Dec. 11 at The Crossing Lewes Church of Christ on Route 1. The church donated space over the course of the three days to collect, organize and distribute the gifts.
“This is the first year we’ve been able to have all of the gifts dropped off and picked up in the same location,” saidd Steinmann. “We’re very grateful for the partnership with The Crossing. It has helped make the process this year run smoothly and efficiently!”
To learn more about the varying needs of the homeless student population, follow Cape Community Cares on Facebook.