On Tuesday, Antioch Unified School District staff played Santa in delivering presents to 35-students who will be spending the Holiday in a group home. The District also provided gifts to several homeless students.
Along with gifts, the District staff also provided every family or home with a $200.00 Walmart gift card.
AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello says for the past several years the District has reached out to their most vulnerable families, the foster and homeless students as well as students who may be spending the holidays in group homes.
According to the 2015-16 Local Control and Accountability Plan, there are more than 440 students who are currently homeless while more than 3,100 AUSD students live in poverty.
Anello praised District staff in helping others this holiday season.
“I have always been proud of the amazing and generous employees we have in AUSD. If a need in our schools or community surfaces, AUSD employees will, invariably, work to find a way to help,” said Anello.
Bob Sanchez, Director, Student Support Services, stated the giveaway was what the holiday season is all about.
“We service several hundred foster and homeless students throughout the year, but during the holiday season we know these families are under a lot of stress,” said Sanchez. “For me to be able to give to them and see and feel the deep felt appreciation, is what the holiday season is all about. Our district staff did fundraising to be able to purchase gifts, food, gas cards and trying to make these families holiday season a little better. Let’s keep them in mind all year.”
Anello called the response overwhelming saying several of our homeless families traveled from other cities on BART and then took buses, etc. because the homeless shelters move every two weeks.
She highlighted how moved she was by parents trying to make sure their children had a gift.
“There were many. Several parents traveled hours to meet us as they were homeless and living in shelters that move throughout the county every couple of weeks. Staff who delivered the gifts to these parents were extremely moved by their determination to make sure their children had a gift this holiday season and of the graciousness they showed upon receiving the gifts,” said Anello. “Had we known, we would have met them somewhere convenient for them. Everyone was incredibly gracious and thankful.”