TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Twin Falls School District is participating in the National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week by asking the community to donate to school food pantries.
The district identified 466 children who were homeless in the 2016-2017 school year.
Eva Craner, the director of public relations for the school district, said the count starts over every school year and since August of this year, they have identified 259 homeless children.
This does not mean the children are without homes or living in a car.
"We utilize the federal definition of homelessness that's provided by the McKinney-Vento act, and that defines that as not just living on the street, living in a car, living in a motel, but also when a family is doubled up due to economic hardship," Craner said.
As the school district participates in the awareness week, they want the community to donate items to their school's food pantry.
Items include nonperishable foods and also toiletries, such as shampoos and deodorant.
"How would you feel going to school the next day if you didn't have your basic needs, not just food, but also your toiletries," she continued. "Those are the things we are really trying to raise awareness about and collect some of those items for these families in our community."
Any of the schools in the district will take food or toiletry donations.
Eight of those schools have a food pantry for students and their families.
Those schools include Oregon Trail, Rock Creek, Harrison, Lincoln, Bickel, Robert Stuart, Canyon Ridge and Magic Valley High.
The Idaho Foodbank provides food to Oregon Trail, Bickel and Robert Stuart to benefit the community at large.