East High Offering Basic Needs To Homeless Students
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There’s a hidden problem simmering at many Utah schools: some students are homeless, and don’t have the basic needs to succeed. East High School in Salt Lake City is tackling those issues by helping students with food, clothing and showers.
The East High School Leopards know how to step up for each other. In the last two years, school leaders have opened a food pantry, a clothing boutique, and a shower room complete with washing machines. All of it is aimed at keeping homeless students in school with their peers. They’re now sharing that compassionate approach to fellow students in the summer, too.
“East High School is great,” said Islam Djobo, an East High School graduate this spring. “I’m going to miss the school.”
Islam and his sisters, Wali and Mouhina, were picking up meals and washing products for their family this morning at the Smith’s East High Leopard Stash.
“Sometimes we struggle to get stuff,” said Islam.
So, they get critical help from the food pantry that opened last fall at the school with a $70,000 grant from Smith’s Food.
“We don’t have that much money to get some stuff,” said Islam. “So, we come here and we get some food, and a little bit of clothes.”
During the school year, the Leopard Stash and boutique are open daily, before and after school. This summer: open 8 am until noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“We like coming here and getting some stuff when we need help. If we need help we come and get some stuff,” said Wali Djobo, a senior at East High this coming year,
The Leopard Stash and Boutique are open to any student in the Salt Lake City School District and their family.
“It makes coming to school much more easier,” said Karina Soto, a recent graduate, who has been homeless.
Even though she was embarrassed by her living situation, at first, help from her classmates kept her in school. Now, she’s no longer homeless, and she’s excited about her future.
“It was helpful because I knew my school had my back, and they cared about me, and that’s really important me,” said Karina.
That compassion kept her hopeful and focused on her education.
“I felt like I belonged,” she said. “So, I was wasn’t uncomfortable in any shape or form, and it really allowed me to develop into the person I am today.”
She’s the first high school graduate in her family, and the first headed to college. She’ll attend the University of Utah this fall.
This summer, she’s giving back, working at the Stash, sharing the support.
Donations keep the boutique and the pantry going. You can donate online, or the school accepts donations at the front desk. Towels and new underwear are always items in need.
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