Holiday Help

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"People are very generous now, but when it's over it's over and they're still in need for clothes and food and whatnot."
Stacey Ting-Senini, the principal of Libby Booth Elementary in South Reno, is talking about 90-percent of the students at her school who are eligible for free and reduced lunch.

She also says more than 90 families at the school are identified as in transition, meaning they're either homeless or have no income.
"Backpacks fall apart, books get lost, one pencil is only going to last a week or two. So, the need is on-going."

Susan Rusk, the counselor coordinator for the Washoe County School District, says the money to help the students isn't always easy to find.
"There's a larger part of the school population that has a financial need than people are aware of. One of the things we're seeing are people living paycheck to paycheck, extra things like lab fees, going on a field trip... just aren't built into the budget."

Principals and those with the district say they rely on private donations from individuals or groups... but, even getting supplies like pencils and paper to these students can add up to about 36-hundred per school.
"We often see families that literally won't have heat that month if they don't get a little bit of help. Or we've had kids that just outgrew their last pair of shoes and there is no resource to replace a pair of shoes for kids."

While many families qualify for social services available in the community like food and shelter, the district says many are just on the cusp of making it day to day.

Kelly Jesch, in charge of elementary counseling for the school district, says those are the students who often struggle the most with the social consequences.
"I think the size of our district stretches our resources. We have some resources, we have some things we access. But, we have far more children than we have resources."

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada is one of the local non-profit organizations that is responsible for putting some of these dollars into the hands of principals for specific needs.
For more information about the projects which are specific to schools and needs, you can go to the website at