Jennifer Bland is the mother of three kids and she understands how expensive clothes can be.
Bland works with the Aubrey ISD’s McKinney Vento Program that provides clothing and additional services for children in need.
The program focuses on children that lack adequate accommodations like running water or electricity.
“We want to bring awareness to the community that this exists and there are families that need the help,” Bland said. “I don’t think the school is the first place a parent would think about when they’re in a tough spot, but there are plenty people ready to step in and assist in any way.”
At the beginning of each year, students fill out a residency questionnaire that determines their eligibility for the program.
“Once I know that a student is eligible, I can qualify them immediately for free breakfast and free lunch or refer them to our pantry if they need assistance with clothes,” Aubrey ISD’s McKinney Vento Liaison Monica Molinar said.
Molinar currently assists 40 students within the district with jeans, jackets and Aubrey ISD related t-shirts.
“Most of the donations come from churches or local community members,” Molinar said. “We have a woman who loves to give back by knitting caps for all of the students in the program.”
If a student is worried about their appearance, it makes it hard to concentrate in class.
“If they’re worried about what they’re wearing, they’re not focusing on school,” Molinar said. “We want them to be able to be here ready to learn and ready to go.”
Bland also thinks that appearance plays a role in how effective a student is in the classroom.
“If you show up to school and you feel like you don’t fit in because your family can’t afford things that other people don’t have, then you’re already at a disadvantage,” Bland said. “We don’t want our kids to feel like they’re at a disadvantage in any way. This is just another step Aubrey ISD is taking to meet all the needs of our students.”
Students in the McKinney Vento Program are assisted with school supplies and transportation to and from school.
Molinar worked with Coats For Kids, a non-profit organization that also provides services for children in need, and gave out around 60 brand new jackets.
“For some kids that was the first brand new jacket they’ve ever worn,” Molinar said. “And that was a big deal for them.”
Molinar believes she’s here to do more than just educate.
“The school district is not just here to educate students, we’re here to meet the needs of the community as a whole,” Molinar said.
If you’d like to make a donation contact Monica Molinar at (940) 668-3923 or email@example.com.