WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. - More than a decade ago, community members started the White Bear Lake Educational Foundation to help families in the school district when they heard how desperate the need was.
"We hear from principals and teachers that kids who were ashamed or embarrassed because they have the same clothes on everyday or because they didn't have a coat and they were cold," Jenny Nadeau, president of the non-profit, said
The group started the "angel fund" to help families. All donated money goes toward food and clothes. The thought is if basic needs are met, students can focus on school. Kathy Cochrane has seen the joy firsthand.
"He was probably first grade maybe second grade, it was last spring and the only clothes he would look for were dress clothes. He said, 'I haven't had these before', and he found an outfit, including shoes," Cochrane said.
The need has been growing since the recession but this year hit a record.
"We've just had a boom in need. This fall we've probably had close to 70 people that have actually come into the closet for just clothing or coats for boots or that kind of thing," Nadeau said.
The demand is drying up donations.
Now, they're in need of winter coats and boots for elementary aged children. Volunteers hope people step up and donate to the Holiday Angel Fund, where you can donate in honor of your favorite educator.
Nadeau said they need all the support they can get so they can keep helping others.
"Angel fund recipients could be your neighbors and it's surprising and humbling to know how many people in our community really need help so we're really honored to have the angel fund," she said.
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