St. Louis Public Schools: Coats available for students who need them

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ST. LOUIS - It is hard to imagine standing outside without a coat on a cold winter morning. But that is the reality for some students.

St. Louis Public Schools are reminding families that coats and other cold-weather items are available for students.

The district, which currently enrolls 22,993 students, is serving more homeless students than in years past. The percentage has increased from 20% to 25% in just two years.

“We have over 5,500 homeless students. And we get to know what they need because we conduct a needs assessment,” SLPS Students in Transition Coordinator & Foster Care Liaison Deidra Thomas-Murray said.

Thomas Murray's office receives calls year-round. In the summer, fans are in high demand. In the winter, a variety of items to stay warm: space heaters, blankets, pillows, socks, hats, gloves, and scarves.

The importance of having access to those things is crucial, she said.

“When children are cold, hungry, or tired, they certainly can’t focus. And they certainly can’t learn. So, we put systems in place, to try and eliminate those types of barriers,” Thomas-Murray said.

The district recently received a huge collection of items donated by area churches.

“It looked like a department store,” Thomas-Murray exclaimed, noting the generosity of the community.

Still, the items remain in high demand and go quickly, she said.

The SLPS Students in Transition Office is always accepting donated clothing. Arrangements can be made by calling Ms. Watts at the Students in Transition Office at 314-345-5750.

Monetary donations can be made through the St. Louis Public School Foundation, under the Students in Transition Office.

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