OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - Christmas in July, a Broward County collection drive focused on helping homeless students and their families, is getting ready as the school year comes to an end.
The drive provides clothing and school supplies to homeless children throughout the county.
“We will pack anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200 bags in advance,” said Pam Davidson with Christmas in July.
Davidson said the students need these items more than ever.
“The economy isn’t what people think it is,” said Davidson. “The rich have gotten richer, but unfortunately, the poor have gotten poorer.”
In Broward County, there were nearly 4,500 homeless students in the district this past year.
Meanwhile, almost 9,000 students in the Miami-Dade County school district were homeless in 2018. The most recent data isn’t available yet for Miami-Dade.
In Miami-Dade, there is a shop where families who need help can pick things up like backpacks, school supplies and other items.
Christmas in July is similar, and it’s invaluable to parents like Demetrius Inman, who has been living at a transitional housing facility in Oakland Park for a little over a year.
Inman has five children, two teenagers, a 6-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old. They’re all in school and live part-time with him at the facility.
“It’s been very good for me. Before I came, a complete mess,” he said. “Came here and stabilized.”
Jasmyne Mincy is another parent who also lives at the facility.
“It’s tough. It’s hard. It gets hard at times,” she said.
Mincy said she is trying to be strong for her 4-year-old daughter.
“Each day I pray, and I get through it,” Mincy said. “Having her is like a motivation to keep going, not to give up.”
That motivation is what pushes the women behind Christmas in July.
The group will spend the next several weeks packing boxes so thousands of kids have a better chance in the classroom next fall.
Each box will include new backpacks, shoes, school supplies and toiletries, among other items.
Davidson said the items that families need most are socks and underwear.
“You wonder why? Because you can’t buy those in a thrift store,” explained Davidson.
For many families, Christmas in July is just as important as the one in December.
“Everybody needs somebody,” said Inman.
Click here for more information on Christmas in July.
Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.