Back to School

Back-to-school shopping is a struggle for homeless families in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — Many Central Florida families are in the middle of back-to-school shopping.

WATCH: Florida’s back-to-school tax-free holiday: What does it include?

There is one back-to-school item that you are likely not thinking about that can make a serious difference in the life of a homeless child.


Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown is the president of the board of the National Coalition for the Homeless and said that last school year, 30,000 Florida children and youth experienced homelessness.

Photos: Back-to-school shopping is a struggle for homeless families in Central Florida

For many homeless children, their only source of food is at school.

“If you don’t have access, you know you’re trying to go get run-off water from somewhere but often it’s polluted, it’s dirty, it can make people sick,” Shankar-Brown said.

READ: Here’s what you can save money on during the back-to-school sales tax holiday

The Stetson University professor said that while traditional school supplies are vital, when donating, try to think out of the box.

“Even when you look at the clothes that are donated, socks are not donated and yet they’re one of the number one items that are needed,” Shankar-Brown said.

READ: Florida is now picking its social studies textbooks, but how does the process work?

And when giving from the kindness of your heart, remember, for a homeless student, it’s more than just a donation.

By law, each district is required to have a homeless liaison who can help struggling families at the school level.

Watch more in the video above.

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