Between a 24-hour news cycle and multiple forms of social media, many of us see or share stories of people in need everyday. When nursing student and Edmonds mom of two Melody McMillan-Nelms saw a story about homeless children in the Edmonds School District, hitting the share button wasn’t enough.
McMillan-Nelms contacted Leanne Brisbois, who serves as the District’s liaison to the homeless, to see what she could do. She then relayed the information that Brisbois provided to the Edmonds Moms Facebook page, noting that she intended to help and asking, “Who is in with me?”
The response to McMillan-Nelms’ post was large and swift, with over 60 offers of help, and a plan was in place by the end of the same day to donate locally. Debbie Duvall, owner of Revelations Yogurt and Dessert Bar, offered her store at 527 Main Street, as a drop-off location for donations. Per Duvall’s post on Facebook, the first donation came in Monday night.
I spoke Tuesday morning with Leanne Brisbois, who told me there are close to 250 homeless children in the Edmonds School District served under the 1987 McKinney-Vento Act, which was created “is to ensure homeless children and youth enroll and succeed in school.” Transportation to and from where these homeless children are staying is covered under the act and there are currently 10 buses in our school district that transport them from school to cars, motels, shelters and — in the case of a young man who just turned 18 — a tent.
Brisbois explained that portable, individually-wrapped snacks are handed out on the bus and are a great way to ensure the bus drivers are able to pass along food to their often hungry riders. Donations are welcome to help provide the children those snacks. Options include applesauce cups with plastic spoons, graham crackers, granola bars, pretzels, and juice boxes, since the students may not have access to a microwave or stove at home. You can donate items like these at a drop box inside Revelations in Edmonds, to be delivered to the School District by Edmonds Moms Facebook page member. You can also take the donations directly to the Edmonds School District administrative office at 20420 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, right next to Edmonds Community College.
Also welcome are donations of school supplies, book bags and cash that can cover hotel vouchers for students needing immediate shelter, especially in bad weather. You can contact Leanne Brisbois with questions at 425-431-7146.
— By Jen Marx