Support sought as TVDSB 'Caring Fund' sees increasing need

The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) is hoping to raise over $20,000 this Giving Tuesday for its Caring Fund, as the emergency fund for families sees growing demand.

Jennifer needed help after her family lost everything they owned in a house fire in January of 2020, and she is just one of hundreds of families in similar circumstances that are helped by the TVDSB’s Caring Fund.

“It made me realize that our family mattered to the community, that people were out there, and they did care about our family.”

Dawn Ruddick, principal at London's Lord Elgin Public School, said the pandemic has had a big impact.

“This year above all else people are already struggling, and people that were struggling are struggling more because of COVID.”

According to the board, 215 families have already been helped with emergency funding, totalling $79,000 coming from this fund.

If that trend continues, the projected number is going to rise well above $200,000, up from $167,000 for all of last year.

“At the school board, we’re noticing a lot more requests for support this year, 70 per cent increase from last year,” said Jackie Ellefsen of the Thames Valley Education Foundation.

It's a problem across the district. Ruddick has seen it, and how the Caring Fund can help.

“I have seen the people in our community who have been completely down and out on their luck and they turn to us. And they don’t just want us to say, you know, 'Hey, we feel for you,’ it’s not enough, and so being able to say to them, 'We’ve got immediate, timely support for you to get you through,' it just makes all the difference.”

Sharing the message on social media is a help, but the board also says if you can, a donation page on their website is available as well.

“We’re looking to sort of engage the community and see if we can get some support tomorrow for Giving Tuesday and also to support our students,” Ellefsen said.

Donations aren’t limited to Giving Tuesday, and can be made at anytime by visiting the TVDSB website.

We are hearing about more @TVDSB students in need than ever before. #GivingTuesday is tomorrow - you can help ensure they are provided with food, clothing, and other items throughout the year. Follow us for details on how you can help. https://t.co/Cy0BaPuFQ2 #TVDSB #WeCare pic.twitter.com/in09GFI2KQ

— TVEF (Thames Valley Education Foundation) (@TVeducationFdn) November 29, 2021