Trailwood Elementary’s PTA has reprogrammed $2,875 that was earmarked for spring events into a donation that supports Shawnee Mission families who could use a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of the Trailwood Elementary PTA unanimously agreed to make the donation to the Shawnee Mission Cares Fund at the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation. The Cares Fund assists families with things like food, housing, transportation and medical and dental expenses.
Jen Pontier, president of the Trailwood Elementary PTA, said their members are generous and often looking for ways to support students in the surrounding community.
“When this abrupt end of the school year happened, it was just kind of a no-brainer to try and do something great with those funds that we knew we couldn’t use,” Pontier said.
Donating to the Shawnee Mission Cares Fund also ensures those funds stay within the school district community, Pontier said.
“We talk a lot at Trailwood about how we’re in a unique area where we’re really lucky to have a lot of parent involvement and access to raise money,” she said, citing their successful fundraising auction each year. “But there are families that are living a much different reality just down the street from us. There’s plenty of need right here in our area.”
John McKinney, director of student and family services for the school district, said the “number one thing” people can do for Shawnee Mission students is to donate to the Cares Fund.
“With so many families facing job losses, furloughs, and medical expenses during the pandemic, the Cares Fund is able to provide emergency assistance to our families who are struggling,” he said.
Kim Hinkle, executive director of the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, said many people and businesses have donated to the Cares Fund over the past two months.
“So many individuals and businesses have reached out to give support, from national chains like Papa John’s Pizza to local groups like the Trailwood Elementary PTA,” Hinkle said. “Our community cares deeply about supporting our most vulnerable kids. We are deeply grateful to all of them.”
All Cares Fund referrals come through teams at individual schools. Anyone who needs assistance or knows someone who could benefit from the fund should contact their school’s nurse, social worker, counselor or principal.
Donations can be made to the Cares Fund at smef.org or by calling 913-993-9360.