COVID-19 shut everything down, leaving some students scrambling to support their families while being enrolled in school. The Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation in Tuscon, AZ has worked tirelessly to raise money for students and families in need.
According to the Foundation's executive director, Kerri Lopez-Howell, Sunnyside's Emergency Relief Fund was opened in March and was used to help families pay for the electricity bills, rent, mortgage, Wi-Fi, and even car payments. Its goal was to ultimately not only help the students but to include their families as well.
The SUSD Foundation also worked on emergency food boxes and worked with different non-profit organizations in Tucson's south side in order to expand their reach.
Sunnyside Unified School District comprises a number of schools on Tucson's south side. When asked about what makes Sunnyside unique, Lopez-Howell said, "The thing that makes SUSD so unique to me is the collective pride of the entire district." She emphasized that many students who graduate from SUSD claim the district and claim to be a product of SUSD with pride.
With tons of support from the community, the SUSD Foundation managed to raise over $52,000, $30,000 being raised in one day. Donations ranging from $5 to large gift donations. Lopez-Howell highlighted the community's involvement in all of this, especially during a time when everyone is struggling.