When the weather turns cold each year, teachers in classrooms around the district start to notice that some of the kids in their class don't wear a coat to school, or have a coat to put on when they go outside. Sometimes, this happens because the student's family has found it financially difficult to purchase winter gear for their child.
That's when the Children's Fund steps in to help.
Since 1987, the Forest Lake Area Children's Fund has been helping to provide what parents and families cannot. The non-profit, which was formed by Forest Lake area educators and business leaders, exists specifically to provide warm winter clothing for the students of this school district.
Teachers and other school staff play a vital role in the organization's mission. They are the eyes and ears of their classrooms, and are often the first ones to know when a student is in need. If a staff member notices that one of their students does not have a coat or other winter gear, they fill out a referral form and the school principal gets in touch with that student's family.
Students who participate in the program receive a brand new coat and other winter gear like hats, mittens, boots and snowpants. The program serves students in preschool all the way through high school. Coats and winter gear are delivered to the school and the student by early December. So far this winter, they have provided items for 220 children at a cost of over $12,000.
The partnership with the school district and with school staff allows this basic need to be quickly identified and for students and families to get help early in the winter season.