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Allendale school program helps 56 homeless students in district

ALLENDALE, Mich. — A school district in Ottawa County is working to ease the lives of its students experiencing homelessness.

There are 56 students in Allendale School District that are considered homeless. It's an issue affecting school districts across the country, but Allendale schools says their community helps them go above and beyond for their students.

Inside a classroom at Evergreen Elementary School in Allendale sits a closet filled with supplies.

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, or Homelessness Assistance Act, schools are required to provide assistance for students experiencing homelessness, which usually extends to food and transportation.

In Allendale, the 56 students experiencing homeless have access to much, much more.

"If the residence is not fixed or regular and adequate then you’re considered homeless," said Kari Wiersema, student support service coordinator for Allendale schools.

Wiersema is responsible for getting students the necessary resources, food and transportation, as well as clothing, toiletries, winter gear and school supplies, to name a few.

"They can’t make it through and learn through the day if they don’t have their basic needs met," said Wiersema.

All of the items come from donations or grant money. Wiersema says it’s support from the community that allows them to do what they do.

"They just know that somebody’s on their side and if they ever come to a spot where they just can’t do it anymore that there’s a team here at the school that’s going to step up and do whatever we can to make it," said Wiersema.

There are some businesses in the Allendale area that have drop off boxes to collect donated items.

If you'd like to donate, contact the school specifically for more information on items they need and how you can drop them off.

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