Sometimes we don’t need a handout. What we need is a hand up—and that’s exactly what teachers and staff are doing at Whittier School in Bozeman.
“We want to meet families where they’re at and provide support at all levels,” said Hilary Treanor, a Whittier parent.
One of the ways they’re doing that is through the Whittier School Wildcat Grocery Plus program.
“It’s a place where any family at Whittier can come access clothing, personal care items, enrichment like books, art supplies and foods,” Kelsey McPherson, a Whittier counselor.
The concept came after educators wanted to provide more support for their students.
“If parents are feeling stressed at home, the child’s going to be feeling stressed and we can help enhance positive outcomes for our students by supporting their families too,” Treanor said.
So how does it work?
“Sometimes we know just through general conversation what a family would like or we send the Google form via text, email however they would like to the family and they would fill it out. It gets sent to my email and then we pack up the box and just text them when it’s ready to be picked up,” McPherson said.
The Whittier team didn’t want the summer break to become a barrier, so they came up with a “whitty” solution.
“Just because school stops, doesn’t mean it needs to stop,” McPherson said.
“We received funding from the United Way’s Covid Relief grant to purchase grocery gift cards for families over the summer,” Treanor explained.
School officials hope other educators see this story and are inspired to implement something like this at their school.