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School foundations pitch in during closure
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School foundations pitch in during closure

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Statewide school closures due to the spread of COVID-19 have left districts scrambling to continue providing services for students. 

Last week, mid-valley schools got a little extra help. 

The Albany Public Schools Foundation and the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation announced separately that their organizations' distinct fundraising efforts would be contributing more than $300,000 to their respective districts to help fund student supplies, programs and needs.  

"School closures combined with job loss and other economic hardships have created an unprecedented situation for local families," a statement from Albany Public Schools Foundation read. "Kids are under enormous stress as they transition to distance learning. Many don’t have a quiet place to study. They’re scared about getting sick and worried about an uncertain future."

The organization announced it would be bolstering its traditional scholarship program with additional efforts, including 2,000 emergency care packages for students. In total, the foundation announced just over $190,000 in funding for the district. 

A little over $120,000 will go to more than 60 scholarships while additional funds will cover the cost of the emergency kits. The Albany Public Schools Foundation will also provide up to 20 at-risk students with financial and mentoring support. 

"This program, different than the traditional scholarship program, is focused on first-generation and low-income students who hope to attend college/trade school but are facing enormous challenges," the foundation said. "These students are chosen each year by Albany’s three high schools."

Across the river, the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation is also lending a helping hand. The foundation committed $182,000 to the district for emergency and summer programming. 

Of the $182,000, more than $100,000 will go to food security and basic needs for vulnerable students. According to the foundation, hygiene products and fresh farm produce will be delivered to families with the help of Dial-A-Bus. 

The foundation estimates that at least 500 families in the area are at risk of homelessness, food insecurity or housing instability. The funds will also go towards helping families with these challenges. 

Funds are also earmarked in the event stay-at-home orders are lifted and summer programs can take place. They'll also fund programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels should students be allowed back in schools. 

“We are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to our COVID-19 response fund in recent weeks,” said Liv Gifford, executive director of the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation. “So far, we have received over 225 donations in support of food security and basic needs. These funds may be a lifeline for kids in precarious situations.”

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