For the seventh year in a row, M.I.L.K. Money Bottles are popping up around town, in local churches and in homes in an effort to affect change for the nearly 200 Northshore School District (NSD) students experiencing homelessness this year.
Homeless students are defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Act as those who lack a stable nighttime residence. While NSD funds the expenses that accompany federal legislation, which guarantees students’ rights to remain in their original school district, there are a significant number of extracurricular expenses that are not covered.
“The face of homelessness in our community may not be what you imagine,” said Carmin Dalziel, executive director of the Northshore Schools Foundation. “While there is no shortage of students living in camps or cars or on the streets, it is also common that those students are ‘couch surfing’ and the people hosting them may not even know they don’t have a home to go home to.”
She added that what all students in crisis need, is a sense of stability. By providing just a little bit of resources, she said, they can help these students have a chance at a more traditional school experience and hopefully give them the support they need to graduate at the same level of success as their peers.
“The majority of the students that we support are at the top of their class,” said Sara Hayashi, Milk Money co-founder. “We’re covering costs for college prep, test fee, school supplies and graduation fees.”
Dr. Chris Bigelow, student services director and homeless liaison for NSD added, “We couldn’t provide the services we do without the support of the Northshore Schools Foundation.”
The foundation has a goal of raising $20,000, an average of $100 per student, during May, which they have designated as MILK Money Month. Community members can get involved by visiting a local business who is collecting change or by starting their own campaign at home or in their office by downloading an at-home campaign kit from their website.
M.I.L.K. is an acronym for Making an Impact on Learning for Kids and is a play on many concepts including collecting change to be a part of the change.
Since 2010, the program has donated more than $40,000 to students. The Windermere Foundation has provided more than a quarter of those funds as matching dollars.
“The community involvement in this campaign has been phenomenal,” said Dalziel “We’ve seen Evergreen Church encourage their entire congregation to participate, received anonymous $1,000 gifts, and had several places like Banner Bank, Sparta’s Pizza, Alexa’s Café, Proper & Ernest & Sound Credit Union decide to keep a bottle out all year. We never know what to expect but we know people are willing to help so that’s exciting.”
The Milk Money campaign is sponsored by A.S.A.P. Appliance, Banner Bank, Country Village Shops, EricksonPNW Real Estate and Twin Brooks Creamery
Find out more and get involved at www.NorthshoreSchoolsFoundatio