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SUSD Foundation raises thousands to assist families amid ongoing pandemic

Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation
Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-27 02:11:17-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation is working to help ease some worries for south side families.

The foundation has raised over $50,000 for their families to have what they need during the pandemic, whether it's paying mortgages or internet bills.

“COVID-19 brought a lot of changes for everybody, especially our foundation because education was so hardly hit by remote learning. What we found as a foundation is that where we used to be able to focus a lot on what was happening in the classroom, we really had to transition to help stabilize the learning environment in the homes of our students,” said Kerri Lopez-Howell, executive director of SUSD Foundation.

SUSD said an estimated four out of five students in the district meet Title One requirements.

“There's a Title One is a program intended to help families in poverty. It's to help try to create a firm foundation for students that are maybe struggling with some of the basic needs so the intention is to help with equity,” said Andrea Foster, SUSD Title One coordinator.

34 families and 113 minors have benefited from the fund, according to the foundation.

SUSD said one of the biggest bills the emergency relief fund is helping parents pay is their internet bill.

“Given that they have to be doing school remotely right now, not everyone has the ability to have the internet at home," explained Foster. "It may have been shut off because they went over their bills, you know, I know I got a notice that we were very close to using up all of our data.”

The way the district is helping the foundation identify the students and families most in need is through counselors.

“[The] foundation has really lifted a lot of families [and] a lot of kids up. I hope our donors know that. It's been a real godsend," said Araceli Mendoza, SUSD Foster point of contact.

You can contact the Sunnyside Unified School District, here.