- Board of Education
From the School Board
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree (TGT), a student assistance program and food pantry in the Howard-Suamico School District, has a vision of an education without barriers. The roles TGT plays in meeting this vision focus on equitable access to food, shelter, transportation, and resources for students and families - all pieces to ensuring students come to school each day prepared to learn and with a sense of belonging. Identifying the gaps students and families are facing allow TGT to find or create opportunities and partner with the right people and organizations to work toward meeting those needs.
Students coming to school each day facing obstacles that come with living in an economically disadvantaged home have to navigate through hurdles many of their peers don’t face. How difficult is it to learn, grow and keep up socially, emotionally, physically and academically with one’s peers when basic needs aren’t being met, when access to opportunities and experiences isn’t equitable and when sometimes students’ only meals are breakfast and lunch at school?
The Giving Tree often says that it takes two villages to raise the children of Howard-Suamico, and it is within those two villages and beyond that TGT branches out to the community while setting roots in the district. This can only be accomplished through a community that realizes the importance of a continuum of care both in and out of school.
One of those pieces of care centers on nutrition. We know the benefits of students coming to school prepared to learn. The importance of families having access to school breakfast and lunch and support to get food in their homes for evenings and weekends is one of the important
pieces of TGT. Partnerships with the district’s School Nutrition department, several grocery stores and other local businesses allows TGT to support and serve students and their families with wraparound access to healthy food. The food drives the schools and community organizations hold for them also fill their shelves to offer choice to families in their grocery shopping. Collaboration with the School Nutrition department bridges the gap between school
and home, ensuring all our students have access to the nutrition that will fuel their bodies and minds.
Another component is connecting families in crisis to immediate supports. Often many of those families in immediate crisis are experiencing homelessness. Through the district’s Social Workers, staff and volunteers at TGT, they can provide quick coordination of care to meet the hierarchical needs of students and families. From food to field trips, school supplies and transportation to specific student/family assistance, the work of TGT can only take place with a community surrounding them with support. Give Big
Green Bay has just chosen TGT as one of the nonprofits to benefit from this year’s donation campaign February 21-22. The Giving Tree also has its 15th annual Taste of the Villages and auction coming up on April 20. It is only with financial support from generous donors and our surrounding community that the vision of TGT can truly happen. Let’s make the vision of an education without barriers this year’s goal!
For more information about the Howard-Suamico School District, please visit our website at www.hssdschools.org or The Giving Tree at www.hssdschools.org/community/the-giving-tree.
For additional information regarding this article, contact Kourtney
- Board of Education