Katy ISD jr. high students raise funds to help those facing homelessness

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 11/2/21

Katy ISD junior high students that participate in junior honor society programs at McMeans, Beck, Katy, Seven Lakes and Stockdick junior high schools collected gift cards totaling nearly $5,300 to …

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Katy ISD jr. high students raise funds to help those facing homelessness

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Katy ISD junior high students that participate in junior honor society programs at McMeans, Beck, Katy, Seven Lakes and Stockdick junior high schools collected gift cards totaling nearly $5,300 to donate to Hope Impacts, a local nonprofit that helps those facing homelessness during what organizer, John Erskine, says is hoped to be an annual tradition.

“This was the first year to undertake a service project such as this one, and I’m extremely proud of what our students were able to accomplish. We plan on doing it again, and when we do, it will be bigger and better each time,” Erskine said.

The gift cards will allow the nonprofit to help clients out by providing them opportunities to use gift cards at Chick-Fil-A, Walmart, McDonald's, Whataburger, Target, Subway, HEB, Sonic and other area retailers said Hope Impacts founder and executive director, Tina Hatcher. Gift cards are a good way to give to the nonprofit because it allows staff and volunteers to provide support to those facing housing challenges in a dependable way. Gas cards and meal cards can help those facing homelessness get to much-needed new jobs or get a break from their situation by treating their children to meals and a chance to play on a restaurant’s playscape, Hatcher said. She added that the gift cards help the nonprofit manage its budget efficiently.

“That’s (ordinarily) money that comes out of our budget that we don’t necessarily have,” Hatcher said. “We don’t get any federal or state funding so government support isn’t what we get, so it’s local support that we rely on.”

Hatcher said the gift cards also help incentivize clients to come to education and support programs they otherwise might not prioritize because it allows the nonprofit to provide gift cards when participants in those programs engage fully.

Erskine said he and his fellow honor society leaders and the students at their respective campuses are excited to make the gift card drive an annual event that helps students engage in supporting members of the community.

“The goal of this, and similar initiatives, is to foster the idea of taking a proactive approach to issues, such as hunger, in our community as opposed to ignoring them,” Erskine said.

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