ROANOKE, Va. – Packing warm clothes and food, and sealing it with care. Patrick Henry High School parents and teachers create packages for homeless students.
From cozy blankets to water bottles, Roanoke’s homeless students are not forgotten this winter.
A handful of PTSA members at the school packed gloves, socks and toothbrushes into each bag Wednesday morning.
Along with community donations, Allison Gray, a PE Health and Driver Education teacher, created a GoFundMe page to help support her students who she calls her babies.
“I have a lot of friends and family back home and I knew they wanted to support me and I knew this would be an easy way for them to do it,” Gray said.
In just a few short weeks, Gray’s GoFundMe page raised $2,150, which she said was a heartwarming surprise.
“I was shocked and honestly my heart was melting,” she said. “I’ve had former students who are in college donate. I’ve had parents reach out to me and say they actually went to PH [Patrick Henry] and used some of these items and wanted to give back.”
While the committee packed food and toiletries for the students, Julie Boxley thought about the hundreds of homeless students they have packed for in the past, and the new students now.
“I can’t imagine what life is like for some of these kids,” Boxley, a PTSA Outreach committee member said. “And it just means even more knowing that we can just bring a little bit of cheer to them when they are probably struggling a lot.”
Each student will also get a surprise gift to make them feel special.
“So they have their very own small gift to open and call their own so they — just to make them feel special. Most importantly let them realize we are thinking about them,” said Boxley.
School counselors will hand-deliver most of the packages to students before winter break.
Though Gray’s GoFundMe page is closed, the school is hosting a breakfast fundraiser Saturday to continue raising money to support homeless students.