This fall, TPAC has begun the launch of our Winter Wardrobe Call, a winter wardrobe drive benefitting students at Metro Nashville Public Schools who are experiencing homelessness. The Homeless Education Resource and Outreach Program (HERO) at MNPS works tirelessly to uplift students and families in housing transition by providing eligible MNPS students with enrollment assistance, educational support services, school supplies, community referrals, transportation, and emotional support in the school setting. Their work isn’t confined to these parameters, though. They do whatever they can to provide basic needs and stability in these students’ lives.
Now through November 15th, TPAC is hosting our own clothing drive to help keep these students and families warm and we’re asking our patrons, partners, and community for help. We will be collecting coats, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, thermal underwear, and anything else that could keep these kids warm throughout the winter. There will be drop boxes in the lobby for all our performances as well as next to our box office during regular business hours. You can place new or gently used clothing of all sizes into any of these boxes for donation. If you are unable to attend any performances but would still like to donate, there is an online Amazon Wish List to shop from and your purchases will be shipped directly to TPAC.
The HERO program has a large need to meet. Homelessness is an issue for thousands of students in Nashville — last year, the Homeless Education Resource and Outreach Program for Families in Transition identified 2,822 students in Metro Nashville Public Schools who fit the definition of homelessness. It has been a tough year for all of us and HERO expects that number to go up this year. The number of students eligible for support has grown from 350 to 1,614 in the first two months of the school year.
A small donation can go such a long way. Melanie McElhiney, Homeless Education Program Assistant, recounts the time that she “remembered taking a coat to a student one time when it was super cold outside and maybe he had a hoodie, and there seemed to be such relief on his face when he got the coat. It is just something you don’t think about so much when having a coat is a normal, everyday thing”.
So, get on Amazon or bring your coats, gloves, hats, scarves, or thermal underwear down to the drop boxes in our lobby.