By Beth McCullough, McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, Adrian Public Schools, MI

“Please make sure the students who are invited to this event have never come before.  We don’t want the same children to come year after year.”

This type of sentiment is common and I understand.  People want to spread the giving around.

I do have one business that asked me for Christmas wish lists from five homeless unaccompanied youth, and they don’t include the “no-repeater” stipulation.

I sat down with a young man I have worked with since he was in middle school.  He is now 17 years old.  He was homeless with his mother, and he is now homeless as an unaccompanied youth.

“Well Jay, it’s that time of the year.  What would you like for Christmas?” I asked.

He wanted a hooded sweatshirt with a skateboarder on it.  “And maybe just some food cards for over the Christmas break,” he said.

“I am glad an organization came forward wanting to buy Christmas presents so we could do this again this year,” I said.

He looked at me very strangely, tilting his head to the side.  “You are the only one who has ever given me Christmas presents,” he said.  He didn’t understand that there was ever a question about his getting a gift from my office, because that is the only place his Christmas comes from.  We are it. With that, he picked up his hall pass and headed back to class.  Maybe he needs a new skateboard too.

Can a student qualify as homeless for multiple years?

Yes. It is there you will find the stubborn cage of poverty with the heaviest chains.

Do they qualify for gifts more than once?

Perhaps it is the kids who have remained homeless year after year who should get the most.

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