Killeen: Program That Helps Homeless Students Needs Help

By: Nick Delgado Email
By: Nick Delgado Email

KILLEEN (September 17, 2013)--Three weeks into the new school year and the Killeen Independent School District has already recorded 600 homeless students in need of assistance.

It's a record year, said Christina Wilson, Educator for Homeless Services.

"We are kind of overwhelmed right now."

Wilson is in charge of the program that assists the students, making sure they have an adequate learning experience.

The Homeless Awareness Response provides food, clothes, vouchers for immunization, and transportation.

But Wilson said the program is in need of help to keep up with the growing demand of homeless children.

"Monies always an issue with budget cuts and sequestration we are getting hit with those kind of things," Wilson said.

"More students and less funds so we are relying heavily on community support to help us out."

Majority of the families in the program are middle class families, and students of every grade level, she said.

"They had everything going for them, and when a job loss happens or even an illness they lose everything and their home."

But it's the generosity that program officials say they've received from businesses and members of the community that help prevent these cabinets of school supplies from completely going bare.

"As a mother of young children when I found out about the homeless students’ population problem here it's really tugged on my heart strings," said Leah McGee of State Farm Insurance.

McGee worked with other organizations and collected school supplies to assist with the program shortfall.

But she isn't stopping there.

She along with others in the community started collecting socks and underwear for the program.

"It feels so great to do that because I did not know there were so many homeless teenagers in Killeen and Harker Heights so just giving back came natural," said Kathy Brinkley of Ladies in Action.

HARP is also preparing for the holidays, and will need food donations to help feed families in need.

To help out or donate to the program, call HARP at 254-336-0240.

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