S.A.F.E. Program rallies for Mansfield community
Not even a pandemic could stop the Mansfield community’s spirit of giving during the holiday season.
Mansfield City Schools’ Students Achievement through Family Engagement program, better known as S.A.F.E., regularly collects donations for families experiencing homelessness. The term homeless youth and children is defined as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular,
and adequate nighttime residence.” Funded by the McKinney-Vento Act, S.A.F.E. acts as a buffer to ensure they can reach stabilization. Through community and school-wide donations, families receive clothing, hygiene products, gift cards and other essentials for daily living. School supplies, transportation and enrollment are other support services families receive.
In 2020, family pressures were especially fragile, with many experiencing loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the holidays approached, parents found themselves in a position where the traditions of the season were either compromised or not possible.
A Christmas drive was initiated by three parents of students at Spanish Immersion. Through social media, they collectively gathered non-profit organizations and businesses in the Mansfield community to provide gifts on behalf of the
“I am overwhelmed and so excited about the community support and collection of many, many donations for our SAFE program,” said Dr. Holly Christie, Director of Student Support Programs at Mansfield Schools.
The donations have also provided a boost to the Tyger Care dens - the location where items are stored. Further, the supply provides an opportunity to begin stock for self-care cabinets at every nurse’s office in each school building in the district. These self-care cabinets will include hygiene items for body care that students and families often need but may not be able to provide themselves.
“Having the hygiene items on hand right in the building was a goal I had for this grant,” said Christie. “Without the donations, it could not have happened.”
Along with this goal, Dr. Christie’s other target was to garner wide community support for S.A.F.E. to ensure it could be a sustainable program. This effort proves the Mansfield community is actively engaged in providing relief for fellow community members who may be struggling. Her third and final goal for S.A.F.E. is to hire a community health worker to be an advocate and use their expertise to connect families with additional resources as they work toward stabilization. This goal is currently in process.
Because of the robust amount of donations, the S.A.F.E. program can now move towards preventing homelessness or other vulnerable situations.
Monetary donations totaled $4,450. Local organizations and businesses that participated in donations include the following: Richland Renovating, Brennan’s Barber Shop, Fox Airbrushing, Fox Fine Art, Maryland, Tannery II, TGI Fridays, Mansfield YMCA, First English Church, Church of Latter Day Saints, Bankz Salon, Mansfield Police Department, Leaning Tower, Thrive Nutrition Studio, Hamilton Insurance Group, Park National Bank, Storyside Church and Haring Realty.
If you are in need of assistance, please contact Educational Coordinator Phil Mitchell at (419) 525-6400, extension 56413. All information is private and confidential.