Milford Beacon
  • Milford schools, non-profit team up to help homeless students

  • Dozens of homeless students in the Milford School District will receive new bedding this fall, thanks to a donation from a local resource agency dedicated to assisting homeless women and children.

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  • Dozens of homeless students in the Milford School District will receive new bedding this fall, thanks to a donation from a local resource agency dedicated to assisting homeless women and children.
    Circle of Light Inc., a non-profit, interfaith organization based in Milford, donated 40 sleeping bags to the Milford School District last week, with a second delivery of another 60 sleeping bags due this week.
    “So many of these kids get moved around so often that having some bedding of their own might help them get some sleep at night,” said the Rev. Kevin Bowers, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Milford and the assistant program coordinator for Circle of Light. “The whole community benefits when those of us who are most vulnerable are able to be as self-supporting as possible.”
    The interfaith organization purchased the sleeping bags from Wal-Mart for about $1,500. The donation was funded through a grant from the Fund For Women, as well as contributions from the Hearthstone Hotties, a Red Hat group based in the Hearthstone community, local churches, businesses and community organizations, according to Circle of Light program coordinator Deacon Dorothy Vuono.
    “It’s been a real community effort and we’re just thrilled to be able to help homeless students in the Milford School District,” Vuono said.
    Last year, 127 students in the Milford School District were identified as “transitional,” the official term for children with no permanent residence, according to Craig Warrington, the Milford School District’s Homeless Liaison.
    “They might live in a shelter, a motel or be doubled up in a home while staying with a relative or a friend,” he said. “Our foster children population also is included that classification.”
    Warrington said the number of Milford students identified as “transitional” has been on the rise for several years.
    “What we typically see are families who, up until recently, were living in their own home and had everything going great with both parents working,” he said. “Then one or both of them lose their jobs and they’re suddenly struggling and forced to find somewhere else to live. You’d be surprised how regular people can become homeless rather quickly.”
    Circle of Light and other charitable organizations have been vital for filling the gaps between the rising demand and the support the district is able to provide on its own, he said.
    “We’ve had some very nice connections with several local ministries like Circle of Light that have had a lot of success collecting donations from their members and their assistance has been great,” Warrington said. “Most of these families that we help don’t want pity and are not asking for hand-outs, but they are so thankful when they find out help is out there.”
    Vuono said Circle of Light is working to provide additional assistance to local homeless children through a variety of partnerships and programs.
    Page 2 of 2 - They include a special collection of toothpaste and toothbrushes by children ages 4 through 6 who are part of the Future Leaders Project at Delaware Tang Soo Do Academy on North Walnut Street; “Sisters by Choice,” a group of women crocheting and knitting items for homeless teen girls enrolled in the programs at People’s Place on Airport Road; and a collection of handmade quilts and pillow cases from an online organization called “Quilters For Comfort.”
    “The community of Circle of Light continues to grow,” she said. “We’re always looking for ways to help those in our community who need help the most.”
    Circle of Light is accepting donations of toiletries, clothing and household items, such as cups, dishes, glasses, furniture and mattresses.
    For more information, call Vuono at (302) 465-5901 or email circleoflightinc@yahoo.com.
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