Williams/Ledger Elementary Communities in Schools site coordinator, P.J. White, sorts through the nonperishable food items in her classroom cabinets and through the coats, school supplies and other items she provides to students on a daily basis.

Copperas Cove ISD has contracted CIS representatives on each of its 11 campuses since 1992 to meet the students’ needs outside the classroom. CIS personnel function as members of the school staff discreetly supporting students so they can focus on their academics.

White invited students to eat lunch with her in her classroom.

“This helps build relationships with a caring adult that they can trust in addition to their teacher,” White said. “If a student spills something on himself and needs something to change into, we have it in the CIS classroom.

“CIS helps students and teachers with school supplies. CIS also partners with businesses and organizations in the community to help children with unique needs such as eye exams and reading glasses.”

Prior to the pandemic, 112 Williams/Ledger students received services from CIS. With the start of the 2020 school year, more than double — approximately 400 — now receive physical assistance with clothing, school supplies and food.

Copperas Cove ISD’s Stuff the Bus event stocks the CIS school supply closets for the start of the school year. For the 2019-2020 school year, the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program raised $3,000 to start a Blessings in a Backpack program to provide meals to students on the weekends and school breaks. Meals were provided not only to Williams/Ledger students in need but extended to their peers in other schools.

The Blessings in a Backpack program at Williams/Leger Elementary was extremely successful and the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program started Blessings in a Backpack programs at both Fairview/Miss Jewell and Martin Walker Elementary Schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Funds from the third annual Lil’ Dawg and Lil’ Lady Dawg Junior Homecoming Dance, scheduled for Nov. 7, will be used to start weekend meal programs in three more schools this year with the ultimate goal of having the program in every CCISD school.

Martin Walker Elementary Communities in Schools Site Coordinator Shawnyah Golden said the weekend backpack program makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the students.

“A vast majority of the children are at-risk of going hungry over the weekend and therefore, rely on school meals,” Golden said. “This program allows us to ensure that those children that are in-need have meals on Friday night — three meals for Saturday and three meals for Sunday. The meals are not only easy to prepare, but deemed nutritious.”

Anyone interested in donating clothing, coats, school supplies, or nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food items, or has a student in need of services, should contact the CIS site coordinator on any CCISD campus.

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