For Giving Tuesday, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation asks the community for CARES Fund donations

Kimberly Hinkle, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation's executive director, asked the community for support to the CARES Fund on Giving Tuesday via email.

The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation is asking the community to consider donating to the CARES Fund for Giving Tuesday, May 5.

The SMEF asked the community to donate to the CARES Fund in late March, in anticipation of increased financial support requests from Shawnee Mission students and families during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Executive Director Kimberly Hinkle in a press release asked for additional donations on #GivingTuesdayNow, which “started as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.”

“When our students find themselves struggling with hunger, homelessness, illness and sometimes hopelessness, the CARES Fund is there,” Hinkle said. “We provide emergency assistance to our families in crisis. Now, more than ever, the CARES Fund stands ready to assist as we grapple with the devastation wrought by this pandemic.”

The SMEF CARES Fund helps families who struggle with paying utility bills, are food insecure or experiencing homelessness. Families receive up to $500 per year through the fund, and Hinkle, SMSD Director of Family and Student Services John McKinney and McKinney-Vento Homeless Service Liaison David Aramovich work to help these families find additional community programs and resources for long-term solutions.

As families have lost jobs and paychecks due to the coronavirus, there is a need for access to necessities such as food and temporary housing, Hinkle previously told the Shawnee Mission Post. Additionally, the state orders preventing utility shut-offs, foreclosures and evictions will prove challenging once lifted as some families will have back payments to handle.

“One thing that COVID-19 has not — and will not — change is our community’s unwavering support for our Shawnee Mission kids,” Hinkle said. “We are all in this together.”