Local foundation helps Mississauga students in need

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With COVID-19 causing hardship for local students, the Peel Learning Foundation has found itself busier than ever.

Last year, the foundation helped more than 1,400 students in need, more than double the year prior, and the trend is continuing in 2021.

“We’re fortunate the Peel community continues to be generous in supporting our work so we can provide immediate assistance to students experiencing hardships during this incredibly-challenging time,” said Brian Hobbs, executive officer of the Peel Learning Foundation.

The foundation offers two programs.

The Student Emergency Needs Program (more than 1,100 students served in 2020) offers material support like food and clothing, medical supplies, eyeglasses, transportation, as well as financial support for families in crisis. The Student Backpack Program (more than 300 students served last year) provides backpacks filled with school supplies.

Even before the pandemic, the need was urgent. In Peel Region, 1 in 5 students face barriers related to poverty that prevent them from fully participating in school. COVID-19 only accentuated challenges. Job losses, housing insecurity and health issues have all created a more precarious situation for many students and their caregivers.

More recently, the foundation has supplied 150 refurbished Chromebooks to students who lacked the technology to support their online classes.

“Technology has become an ever more important part of 21st-century learning,” says Marsha Forbes, vice-principal at a Peel elementary school and Peel Learning Foundation director. “We felt it was important to look at providing these tools for as many students as we can.”

To apply for support from the Peel Learning Foundation, people can contact any staff at their local Peel board school. All requests are submitted confidentially through the school’s principal or vice-principal.

To learn more or donate, visit www.PeelLearningFoundation.org.

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