DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Right now, 2,800 homeless students are enrolled in Dallas ISD schools. A good portion of them attend either North Dallas, W.T. White or South Oak Cliff High School.

When local non-profits learned about this, they felt compelled to act and ahead of Valentine’s Day, they wanted to something special.

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“It was in my spirit to think about the young students,” No More Violence founder Patricia Allen said. “They want to see that love and we want to express that love.”

Thursday she arrived at South Oak Cliff High School with several other volunteers to pass out small gifts. Students received teddy bears, candies and cards.

“It kind of just touched my heart a little bit,” student Hellen Ramirez said. “I’m thankful because I know that they care and they care about us.”

Derrick Battie, who works primarily with students at ‘South Oak Cliff Students Who Are Homeless,’ said he knows how much their efforts can make a difference. As a South Oak Cliff graduate himself, he said it’s the love and opportunities he received that set him up for success. After going on to have a successful basketball career, he came back to South Oak Cliff to do the same for students.

“We want to make sure when they walk in these doors, the only focus is on academic and academic excellence,” he said.

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He said in order to make that happen, students need the appropriate resources. One of the biggest being a pantry provided by Focus on Teens, which assures students don’t go hungry.

“Where trauma is concerned, our goal is to reduce it to nothing,” Focus on Teens President Keith Price said.

Any time during the day students can stop by the pantry where they can find food, school supplies, toiletries and even clothing items.

“Everything is in the pantry and I’m just so grateful for it,” student Jordan Downs said.

“It means a lot to us as a school and a community that we have resources,” Ramirez said. “Probably one day I’d like to become a resource to the school and try to help the school out.”

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“When you hear that it just touches your heart to hear that these kids get it,” Battie said.

In total, Focus on Teens operates food pantries at ten DISD schools have food pantries. They are looking to expand.
If you’d like to help with donations, you can learn more here.
To get involved with future efforts within Dallas ISD schools you can contact Volunteer@DallasISD.org or Partners@DallasISD.org.

Erin Jones