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Students rally to gather supplies for homeless kids in Folsom, Rancho Cordova

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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FOLSOM CA - Project 680 is asking for the community’s help this month to collect basic needs for homeless students in the district during their month-long drive. The Folsom Cordova Unified School District liaison for Homeless Services said there is a need for hooded sweatshirts, otherwise known as “hoodies,” and shoes for the homeless students in the district. Project 680, a grassroots all-volunteer organization working to help with student homelessness, will be working to collect both hoodies and shoes in a “Head to Toe” drive through Nov. 7. “It’s our goal to collect 680 hoodies and $680 in donations,” said Ryan Lundquist, Project 680 founder and volunteer. “We are asking for new, zip-front hoodies, in sizes for kids in grades K-12. Hoodies can be in solid colors or can have graphics, as long as the graphics are school appropriate.” He said when this project began in 2008, he found 680 students in the district were homeless, meaning students living in non-permanent places. “I asked what I could do and the school district said they need socks,” Lundquist said. “So our goal was to collect 680 socks, and over 3,000 came in.” Lundquist said the need for this type of drive was proven and Project 680 was born. Today, he said, the organization partners with the school drive locally and asks what students in the district most need. This year, they were told hoodies and shoes. “We are really looking for people in the community to rise up and donate or find new ideas on how they can help our students,” he said. “We want people to ask themselves, what can we do?” District school board member Zak Ford will have a drop off location at his Mather home in support of the project. “I thought it was extremely important to help with this project. My heart went out to these kids,” Ford said. “I feel blessed with the foundation that I am able to provide my kids with, so I wanted to help others who may not be as blessed. It’s easy for people to take advantage of these basic things that come easily to us like shoes and socks, so for these kids to have to go to school and not have these basic needs taken care of — it’s just disheartening.” Ford said it is important for the community to come together to help others. “I think it’s important that we provide the best opportunity to all the students in our district and try to provide them with the best foundation possible,” Ford said. “These are basic needs, not anything excessive. A kid should not have to go to school with holes in his or her shoes or be cold in the winter because he or she can’t afford a sweatshirt. We are providing these kids with basic needs.” For a full listing on where to donate throughout the month-long drive, visit project680.org/headtotoe.