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(From left): School District of Beloit Math Teacher and Homeless Advocate for Beloit Learning Academy Tracy Schoville and Homeless Liaison Robin Stuht hold fast food and grocery gift cards for a previous year’s collection. They are again collecting the cards for hunger and homelessness awareness month.

BELOIT— With November being National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month, those with the School District of Beloit are hosting a grocery and fast-food card drive to help those in need stay fed.

Cards may be dropped off or sent to: Beloit Learning Academy, 1033 Woodward Ave., Beloit, WI 53511. For more information people can contact School District of Beloit Homeless Liaison Coordinator Robin Stuht at rstuht@sdb.k12.wi.us or by calling her at 608-361-4355.

Restaurant gift cards can be helpful for youth who may be staying at a motel with Family Promise during the COVID-19 pandemic or living in another situation without access to a kitchen. Gift cards for grocery stores such as Walmart, Piggly Wiggly or Woodman’s also can be a great help to hungry families. Gift cards for fast food or groceries can be $10 to $20 as every little bit helps.

Stuht said the School District of Beloit has identified 254 homeless students, defined as not living in fixed, adequate or regular night-time housing.

“This is the first year we have multiple families having to live in their cars, and it is getting colder. All shelter providers have long waiting lists. Those with housing vouchers have a hard time getting landlords to accept them. In addition, we have an unaffordable housing crisis,” Stuht said.

Stuhl said there are families living in tents, garages without heat or electricity, and in unfinished basements.

“Families doubling up continue to be our largest population of homeless families. Often, two bedroom apartments can have up to 12 people staying in them and making the renter vulnerable to losing their rental if it were known so many are staying there,” Stuht said.

The School District of Beloit is also partnering with Caritas for Thanksgiving baskets for families in need. Stuht said Caritas Executive Director Max Dodson has agreed to receive Thanksgiving food donations and to be the pickup spot for our school district families in need to get the baskets.

“COVID has created so many different barriers. We usually collect at our schools but cannot this year,” Stuht said.