As kids start thinking about heading back to the classroom, did you know it is estimated that more than 1 million kids nationwide are experiencing homelessness?
As if school isn't challenging enough already, just imagine how difficult that must be for children and families. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reports that nearly half of King County’s students experiencing homelessness are in grade 5 or below.
A powerful, Seattle-based coalition has formed to try to help. The Gates Foundation has teamed with rockers Pearl Jam (planning two Home Shows Aug. 8 and 10 at Safeco Field), the Raikes Foundation (also Seattle-based) and Deutsche Bank and will match public contributions to projects launched by educators and community organizers and posted on donorschoose.org.
The Donors Choose site is full of resources for teachers wanting to start a project to help their students. It also has a lot of great examples of ideas already in progress, like the teacher who asked for a washer and dryer so kids could clean their clothes. Other requests include school and hygiene supplies.
Pearl Jam is putting a strong emphasis on the homelessness crisis leading up to its first Seattle shows in five years. On its website, the band says, in part, "These shows are about shining a spotlight on the problem and solutions to homelessness in our hometown and joining a growing list of businesses, individuals, government agencies, and foundations who are collaborating to tackle the biggest public health crisis to hit our community in recent history. Band together with us by donating, volunteering, and getting more informed!"
The band also put this short, emotional yet hopeful video on its website, featuring Nichelle Page, liaison for homeless students in the Tukwila School District.
UPDATE: The local Dutch Bros. coffee chain, with outlets in Federal Way, Renton and Everett, announced this it will donate all proceeds from sales on Wednesday (Aug. 8) to the Pearl Jam Home Shows effort.