Harrison, Ark. organization aids families in school assistance

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:49 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Harrison Public Schools (HPS), along with community organizations, are working to help families by providing students with clothing and other necessities heading into another school year.

According to the Harrison Public Schools human services division, the district has 187 families classified as homeless going into the coming year.

“There are food insecurities out there, and those kids, on the way home, those kids were like, ‘mom, schools starting back, it’s not a problem now,’” said Rebecca Williams, who oversees human services for the district. “You think about that, and they depend on those Friday food bags.”

Williams refers to the backpack program as providing students snacks and non-perishable foods to sustain them during weekends during the school year. She coordinates several assistance services with Harrison Public Schools, like food and clothing pantries.

“We are in need of a lot of elementary clothes right now,” said Williams you can reach out to us with donations. We need shorts, we need leggings and pull-up type clothes like sweats. When we have kids that need clothes, those are easy to fit them into than blue jeans.”

The services HPS provided were aided by many organizations around Harrison, like Ozarks Share and Care: a community-sponsored, non-profit emergency services program. The organization started in 1987 and has grown to be an essential part of the Harrison community. Emergency food is provided for anyone in need, regardless of geographic location.

“We have more people that are coming in needing help and sometimes less to help them with,” said Joy Prater. “We do have a lot of people coming in for school clothes right now, but the change of weather is when a lot of people will come in.”

Since the pandemic Joy Prater says funding and volunteers have been hard to come by, placing the largest strain on the organization since opening; meanwhile, the needs of families have grown.

“It’s huge to me, and when we started, we were really about making sure people had nourishing food for their families, and even 33 years later, it’s still an issue,” she said. “Volunteers are also a vital part of it, we need people in order to help people, and we’ve seen how the workforce and volunteer field have changed since the pandemic.”

For Ozarks Share & Care, like Harrison Schools, no obstacle is too big.

“There are lots of resources out there that are available. We all just kind of work together to meet those needs,” said Williams.

CLICK HERE to find out more on HPS assistance programs.

CLICK HERE to find volunteer forms, donation instructions, and contact information for Ozarks Share & Care.

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