‘Couch surfing’ no fun for homeless kids

There are 13 Bigfork schools students who don’t always look forward to weekends.

These students are technically homeless; without legal guardians or long-term places to live. They are known as “couch surfers” because they move from sleeping on one family’s couch to another.

For these kids, days away from school can mean meager food options, isolation and worse. And the youngest kids are in elementary school, raised, in effect, by their older siblings who can barely keep themselves alive.

During the holidays, these kids, whose names we won’t use to protect their identities, often receive a glut of food and donations.

Then what?

“This is not something that stops at Christmas,” said Bigfork Rotarian Joni Vandiver Isaman during a December meeting. “These kids deal with these issues every day of the year. It makes me wonder what else we can do.” One of many things the Rotary Club and other Bigfork organizations do is the year-round Backpack Program.

Organizations from all over the greater Bigfork area donate food and useful items these students can use, then pack those items in new backpacks to give away.

Many times, it is the only way these kids can get through weekends and evenings.

These kids can become homeless in many ways, say volunteers. Their parents can die, get arrested, disappear or outright abandon their offspring, leaving the village to raise them. One of the many groups that support the program is the Bigfork Business Professionals. BBP members meet at 8 a.m. every Wednesday at the Marina Cay to discuss networking, referrals and shout outs.The 30-plus members, which includes The Bigfork Beagle, set aside cash to help stock the Program’s backpacks.

In upcoming issues, the Beagle will help promote the different organizations that contribute to the Backpack Program, starting with the BBP, whose members want to raise awareness and the profile of area organizations in hopes that donations will increase.The Bigfork Beagle is honored to spearhead the marketing efforts for the BBP and any other organization involved in charitable works.

The Beagle is always happy to accept and publish news and calendar items and event coverage from any group. Just send your submissions to bigforkbeagle@gmail.com or go to bigforkbeagle.com and click on SUBMIT YOUR STUFF or visit our Facebook page a post directly or send a private message. (CLICK ON THE LOGO TO GO TO THE ROTARY OR BBP FACEBOOK PAGES.)

The Beagle is also hosting its first Bigfork-VFW Community Fair on May 20.

We are offering free booths to any church, club, service organization, fundraiser or nonprofit who registers. (Please see Page 3 or visit the Facebook page or website to download a registration form.)

Starting in the June issue, the BBP members will spend money to help raise their club’s profile and bring more attention to the charities they support.

#BigforkRotary #BigforkBusinessProfessionals #BigforkThreads #BigforkLadiesServiceOrganization

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