Donation comes in time for frigid Michigan winter weather
Negative 20 below wind chills. Continuous snow and ice-covered roads. We may have missed a white Christmas, but traditional winter weather has finally arrived in Michigan. For those who have a warm place to call home, this may not mean much.
But it’s all too different for more than 1,100 homeless students and their families as identified by the Macomb Intermediate School District’s Homeless Education Project. Thankfully, donations like the $1,910 and nearly 500 personal care items recently donated by Extra Credit Union are able to help the organization in their continued mission.
Sara Orris is the School Health Education and Homeless Consultant with the Macomb Intermediate School District’s Homeless Education Project. For years, the project, in partnership with local districts, has provided cold-weather and personal-care items, food, community resources, and even backpacks with school supplies, to students and their families registered as being homeless within Macomb County.
“The Macomb Intermediate School District is so incredibly humbled by the continued support of the Homeless Education Project,” Orris said. “Extra Credit Union members and staff are incredibly generous, and the support doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Identifying students in need during COVID provided a challenge due to remote learning. But this has slowly been changing in the past year or two. Orris said the organization has seen a 10 percent increase in the number of identified students over this same time last year. While this means there are students who may be without a place to call home, Orris says identifying the students means the organization’s staff is able to get the students and their families the help and resources they need in what may be the most difficult time of their lives.
She said the funds from Extra Credit Union’s donation will be used to purchase hats, gloves, socks, and hygiene items. And tangible items will be sent immediately to homeless students in need.
“The need is great,” Orris said. “Thank you again for the continued partnership. You are truly making a difference in a young person’s life and helping them have a seamless educational experience despite not having a stable place to sleep at night.”
Each year, Extra Credit Union’s staff and members work together to collect winter and personal-care items for those identified as homeless students in Macomb County.
This is the 14th Mittens for Kids drive the credit union has hosted annually to benefit the project. Last year, the credit union donated $1,880 and 475 cold weather/personal care items.
“Our staff and credit union members have such huge hearts—and they are givers,” said Ruthann Varosi, Vice President of Marketing at Extra Credit Union. “Not only do they emulate the ‘People Helping People’ credit union philosophy from a professional and organizational standpoint, but it is truly a part of who they are as individuals. I am proud to be part of a credit union community who truly cares about the well-being of others.”