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DONT USE IN EDITORIAL: DISD ad photoAs we give thanks for our blessings during this holiday season, it’s important to think of those who need our help and support here in Dallas ISD.

There are at least 3,500 homeless students in the district — the number is likely significantly higher, since homelessness is underreported — and there are concrete ways we can help these kids.

The Dallas ISD Homeless Education Program does great work supporting these families. Our drop-in centers at 20 high schools — including Woodrow Wilson High School and North Dallas High School in District 2 — provide a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for our homeless education students with food, supplies and support.

Meanwhile, I’m proud of a new partnership with After8toEducate, City Square and Promise House that will provide shelter, support and a 24/7 drop-in center for our estimated 100 “unaccompanied” and unsheltered high school students (meaning they are without a parent or legal guardian and don’t have a home).

If you are looking to support our homeless students, donated food remains the greatest need.

Shelf-stable food, which includes items like canned food, crackers, ramen and tuna fish, are the best options.

To give you an idea of what is at stake, the Homeless Education Program recently heard from a Dallas ISD family who had not had access to food for a week. Of course, the department started providing a steady stream of food as soon as they heard. But it is through donated food items that families such as these are fed and supported.

Donated school uniforms are the other big need. Because uniform sizes greatly range from small pre-K students to fully grown high school seniors, the Homeless Education Department said gift cards to Walmart and Target work best. That way, the schools can get the exact uniforms the students’ need. Donated uniforms are also welcome.

New presents for our homeless students are also greatly appreciated this month as all kids – homeless or not — love opening presents on Christmas day.

To donate either shelf stable food, uniforms, or Christmas presents, please contact Ashley Marshall, the district’s homeless liaison, at 972-749-5789 or asmarshall@dallasisd.org. You can also drop off the items directly to the Homeless Education Department located at the Frazier House, 4600 Spring Ave.

You can also contact your neighborhood school to see how you can help. Many of our schools in District 2 have Angel Tree programs that are accepting donations for Christmas presents for families who need it.

In other District 2 news:

Dallas ISD Application Month is underway for families looking to apply for magnets, collegiate academies, two-way dual language schools, or the six transformation schools. Go to here to learn more.

Dallas ISD’s Food and Child Nutrition Services Department will offer students 18 years and under (or special needs students up to age 21), free meals during the winter break. The program aims at providing students nutritious meals even during their vacation. Meals will be served Friday, Dec. 22 and Tuesday, Jan. 2 through Friday, Jan. 5, with morning snacks from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon. Click here for the list of participating schools.


Dustin Marshall

Dustin Marshall is the District 2 representative on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees.

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