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Steve Siska (from left), lead organizer of the Helping Underprivileged School Kids Year-round program, Daryk Brayton, United Way of Illinois Valley vice president, and Coral Albers, UWIV administrative assistant, discuss fundraising plans for this year’s HUSKY program. For the past decade the HUSKY program has provided school supplies to thousands of low-income students. NewsTribune photo/Matthew Baker
Ford test drive Saturday to help United Way
Anyone with a valid driver’s license can support United Way of Illinois Valley by taking a test drive of a new Ford during a Drive 4 UR Community event fom 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in the Rural King parking lot in Peru. Ford will donate $20 per drive to UWIV, up to $6,000. The event is sponsored by Schimmer Ford.
School is nearly out, but HUSKY organizers hope the community doesn’t forget about students this summer.
Volunteers behind the annual Helping Underpriv-ileged School Kids Year-round program are beginning to collect donations of money and supplies for local students.
“I think everybody counts on it,” said organizer Steve Siska, referring to the as many as 31 local schools that will participate in the program this year.
For roughly a decade HUSKY has been providing basic school supplies to local students from low-income families. Each school handles distribution differently, but it’s safe to say that thousands of students have benefited from the program. Last year alone the program raised roughly $10,000 in donations and supplies for an area where many school districts have seen increasing levels of low-income populations – more than a dozen local school districts had more than 30 percent low-income students in 2012 and some are closer to 80 percent.
“People are unaware of how many students in our area qualify,” said Julie Sloan, director of United Way of Illinois Valley, which oversees the HUSKY program.
How to help While financial contributions can be stretched the farthest by the HUSKY organizers, those interested in donating school supplies are asked to stick to the three Ps: pens, pencils and paper, Siska said.
Those basic supplies are more useful and in need than quirky items. Siska said it takes about $50 to properly outfit one student for the year. HUSKY will collect donations through early August.
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