It takes a village

The Clare winter has hit with the icy wind and the below zero mornings have left us reaching for the winter woolies and the heating setting on the air conditioner.

But there are some families in our community who need to be very frugal at the moment and watching every cent they spend, uncertain where the COVID-19 pandemic will lead for them, meaning they leave the heater off and students attend school in their old, threadbare uniforms from last winter.

Clare High School (CHS) has recognised this growing need and in 2018 began the ‘Students in Need’ initiative, which helps fund uniforms, long pants, shoes, lunches, extra curricular activities and excursions.

“Most think of Clare as a reasonably affluent area, but we do actually have some families here and in surrounding towns who are struggling even more now with the COVID-19 uncertainty and at times we do have students who are homeless, couch surfing or sleeping in a car,” CHS assistant principal Katie Liebelt explained.

“We’re seeing the need increase, we’re seeing more students coming to school without food, warm clothing and adequate supplies to complete their school work.”

“We are trying where we can to help the students continue their study and education, with the hope for a better future.”

Community and church groups have assisted students in the past with monetary donations and CHS parents have donated second hand uniforms to the initiative.

Kym and Leonie Phelps at Sportspower Clare also understand family circumstances and have worked with the initiative to provide ‘trendy’ approved navy school pants and sneakers at all price points.

In 2019, Clare based OTM Civil assisted the initiative, and sponsored $1500 to be accessed by students.

Continuing this support, OTM’s chief systems officer Boyd Elliott and chief operations officer Dave Hagan presented another $1500 sponsorship on Monday to the initiative.

With foundations firmly in the Clare Valley, OTM has supported many groups and events where it can.

Boyd and Dave explained OTM has been fortunate in the current economic climate brought on by COVID-19 and has been able to continue operating during this time.

“As such, we realise not everyone has been as fortunate and view it as our responsibility to assist in our community and help those who are in need,” Boyd said.

Supporting young people is an investment in the future of the community so any other businesses that have sustained through the COVID-19 downturn who would like to assist in supporting the school with good quality uniform donations, sneakers, or monetary assistance for student supplies can contact CHS on 8842 2788.