The bitter cold of the winter hasn’t stopped Champlin Park High School students from spreading warmth to those in need.
Champlin Park Youth Service Coordinator Jane Hansen said students sought ways to help after seeing homelessness making headline news locally. “They wanted to do their part to assist this real issue within their community and the metro area,” Hansen said.
Over the past couple of months, students have organized five separate initiatives to support local nonprofits and organizations dedicated to helping the hungry and homeless.
In December 2018, students partnered with Steve Lyons, band director, to collect donations for Hope 4 Youth at a band concert. As a result, $1,000 were collected and donated to the Anoka-based charity that operates a shelter for homeless teens.
Additionally, students from the school's Multiplying Good program organized a clothing drive for the Hope 4 Youth program in January. At the end of the drive, 471 items of clothing were collected and donated.
Earlier this month, the The Students in Action team also organized an annual fundraiser inspired by “Survivor.” For one week, students dropped off donations in buckets to represent 15 teachers. After daily collections were tallied up, three teachers and buckets with the lowest donations were eliminated. “The competitive spirit prevailed as students and staff got in on the action and donated $4,566.99,” Hansen said.
The “Survivor” donations will be split between two causes. A portion will be donated to My Very Own Bed, which offers new beds and linens to youth whose families have just secured housing.
Approximately three beds per month are donated to families in the Anoka-Hennepin School district, Hansen said. The other portion of the collected funds will be used to buy supplies to make kits to be distributed to homeless through Simpson Housing. The kits will be assembled by the Leo Club at the end of this month.
Members of the Leo Club, a service club sponsored by Lions International, also recently organized two of their own efforts to help the homeless. The Leo Club recently made 1,000 sandwiches, which were donated to Allan Law who distributes the sandwiches to the homeless on the street on a nightly basis. Leo Club members will also spend a day at a home with Habitat for Humanity during a no school day in February to help get the home ready for a family.
“The students at Champlin Park High school wanted to help those who are affected by homelessness and they stepped up to help to show how much they cared,” Hansen said.