MIU IV, Feed the Children team up to help

Staff report


Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV and Feed the Children partnered during the holiday giving season.

MIU IV staff members spent the month of November delivering backpacks filled with school supplies, nonperishable food and personal care items to homeless children throughout the region.

Feed the Children, an international relief organization, partners with organizations throughout the country to deliver essentials to children in need. Each year, they collect donations from patrons and choose partners from across the United States to deliver they items they have collected.

This year, they selected Pennsylvania’s Education for Children & Youth Experiencing Homelessness as partner for the second time. Region 5 of this initiative ensures that homeless children receive an appropriate education by assisting them with the removal of barriers and obstacles often caused by homelessness.

Operated by MIU IV, Region 5 serves school-age students in Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.

Wendy Kinnear, MIU IV’s Region 5 coordinator, began to organize this effort several weeks before the delivery of supplies to MIU IV’s central office in Grove City.

“Feed the Children arrives in an 18- wheeler filled with brand-new, stuffed backpacks,” Kinnear said. “It is my job to coordinate the unloading and distribution of the backpacks as efficiently and seamlessly as possible,” she said. “I started by looking at the number of students in need at each of school the districts in Region 5. Then, I deployed MIU IV staff to pick up the correct number of backpacks at a specified time. After that, they delivered them directly to the school districts or to students.”

Kinnear noted that the backpacks and supplies make a tremendous difference in the education of the children the program serves.

“Homeless children throughout our region face many obstacles and barriers that can interrupt their education. It is our job as the administrative agent for this initiative to help remove those barriers,” said Kinnear. “One of the major obstacles homeless children face is the lack of school supplies, clothing and personal-care items. The backpacks provided by Feed the Children serve as a tremendous help in lifting those barriers. ”

MIU IV social worker Susan Pfahles delivered backpacks to children in Lawrence County.

“The kids often become overwhelmed with joy and show tremendous appreciation for the donations from Feed the Children,” said Pfahles. “I just had the pleasure of giving a backpack to a homeless student who is new to his school. He will be able to start a new life in his new school ready to learn and grow because of these supplies.”

Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV is an educational service agency that provides programs and services to 27 school districts in Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.

As one of 29 Intermediate Units in Pennsylvania, MIU IV implements projects administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the General Assembly and the U.S. Department of Education.

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