BEMIDJI-At the end of the 2014-2015 school year there were about 280 students in transition attending Bemidji Schools. A transitional student is a youth who does not have a permanent home-a child who is considered homeless. That number astonished Cindy Detschman and she thought something more ought to be done for homeless children in Bemidji.
Detschman created a Bemidji Homeless Children's Fund Go Fund Me campaign and started a Facebook page with the same name to help raise donations and awareness. On Tuesday morning the campaign had a single donor contributing $25 toward Detschman's goal of $6,000 and 51 likes on the Facebook page.
Deutschman got the idea from a Christmas gift charity she came across last year where items were placed in a shoebox but contributors needed to pay $7 to ship the items.
"I thought, just imagine if that seven dollars stayed in Bemidji for needs around here," Deutschman said.
Deutschman and a few friends from the area grew the idea from a Go Fund Me and the Facebook page to a holiday gift donation box at Lakeland Public Television and a bank account at First National Bank. Money deposited into the account will be used to purchase donations.
Items needed include air mattresses, sleeping bags, socks and backpacks. An extra item Deutschman is encouraging is name-brand sweatshirts like Under Armour and Nike.
"I remember when I was a kid getting my first pair of Nike shoes in sixth-grade," Deutschman said. "It's a big deal for kids that age."
Unwrapped gifts can be brought to a donation drop-off box at Lakeland Public Television, 108 Grant Avenue Northeast in Bemidji. Items must be donated by Dec. 16. Deutschman will be working with area schools and shelters to distribute gifts.
Checks can be made payable to Bemidji Homeless Children's Fund and dropped off at First National Bank branches in Bemidji. Deutschman clarified Bemidji Homeless Children's Fund has not been established as a non-profit. The Bemidji Homeless Children's Fund Go Fund Me can be found online at https://www.gofundme.com/tz6wffyw.