Donations provide essentials to Akron kids battling homelessness

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:30 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Project Rise is working hard to get a group of students ready for the year’s start.

Students struggling with homelessness depend on donations and resources ahead of class for everything from notebooks to shampoo.

“I’m talking to families pretty frequently, 10 to 15 a day, that just aren’t ready for the school year,” said Akron Public Schools homeless liaison Shannah Carino.

She said around 2,000 students, roughly 10% of the district, do not have a permanent home, staying in shelters, couch surfing, or bouncing around hotels.

Project Rise gets school supplies, toiletries, and clothing to kids who would not otherwise have access to them.

“That helps at least get that step done, getting her kids ready for school, and then she can focus on trying to find housing and work to get them out of that hotel,” said Carino.

And donations are always needed.

The program supplies students throughout the school year, not just for the start of the education year, which kicks off Thursday.

Law firm Kisling, Nestico & Redick gathered $1,000 worth of donations to send to the district.

“There’s no better way to break the circle of poverty than an education, and no child should be denied an education based on school supplies,” said managing partner John J. Reagan. “We know that kids are going to go to school equipped for the school year, where they otherwise couldn’t.”

Reagan adds he hopes others will step in and help out too.

To donate, go to the district’s website and search for the Project Rise page.

The page is also a place to find available resources.

Carino said the most needed items are shampoo, shower supplies, and detergent.

She also noted that small amount gift cards are helpful and something her staff cannot purchase with grant money.