National Honor Society students at Curry High recently held a penny drop competition to benefit the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless. The penny drop raised more than $200.
Cindy Wright, Curry High’s National Honor Society sponsor, said the students in the club competed by grade level to see which class could collect the most pennies. The school’s eleventh-grade honor students ended up with the most coins.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Wright said.
Wright said the students were happy to participate in the project and have talked about organizing another fundraiser before Christmas break.
“They had a grand time rolling up those pennies,” she joked.
Wright said the students received no reward for the competition, other than bragging rights for the winner.
Curry High School senior Drew Milstead on Wednesday presented a check for $210 on behalf of the honor society to Chris Sherer, director of operations for the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless.
Sherer said he is encouraged by the generosity and charitable spirit of the students and faculty of Curry High.
“If we had adults in Walker County that cared as mush as the kids do, we would have a shelter already,” he said.
Sherer said the coalition needs around $300,000 to establish the shelter and cover operating funds for the first year. He said organizers are close to a third of the way toward meeting that goal.
Sherer said he hopes the work of Curry High’s honor society inspires the rest of the community to offer help for the shelter.
“I can’t stress enough how vital it is that this be a county-wide effort,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to take to make a real difference.”
Sherer said The Walker County Coalition for the Homeless formed a year ago when a group of community members “came together and decided something had to be done about the problem” of area homelessness.
Sherer said, when the shelter is established, coalition organizers hope to provide homeless people in the area with spiritual counseling, financial literacy courses, medication assistance and educational resources.
“We’re not here to be another Band-Aid organization,” he said. “We don’t need someone to get them through the next month. We need an organization to get them out of the system, and that’s our goal with this.”
Sherer said the coalition currently provides services to residents who have lost their homes or are at risk of losing their houses.
The organization can provide funds to people who are employed but have fallen behind on their rent or house payments. They also provide housing to the newly homeless.
“If they have the means of maintaining it, we can get them into a home,” Sherer said.
The coalition’s current services are funded by the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program, which was a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which is also known as the Stimulus Package.
The law allocated $1.5 billion to the states to administer to non-profit agencies like the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless for the prevention of homelessness.
Sherer said the organization has brought in more than $120,000 of federal funds to help the homeless in the area.