At this week’s Chaska Rotary meeting, Chaska High School student Anna Steffensen and volunteer Karen LaCroix told us about the Chaska High School Care Team. The Care Team is a group of students, staff, and community members with Team Coordinator, Jeri Anne Lovett who provide support to local families in times of need. In the fall of 2015 the Care Team was founded with the common goal of ending student hunger at Chaska High School. It had come to our attention that some of our students were struggling to afford or have access to food on the weekends and long breaks. Having been through tough times ourselves, we wanted to help. Chaska High School already had the Hawk Haul resource center in the building, which has food, toiletries, and other school supplies, but we found that some students needed more regular access to those resources. Since then, the Care Team has expanded the outreach to also support students, families, and staff facing other crises, such as homelessness, illness, or death of a family member.
Through a partnership with a non-profit called The Sheridan Story and local food donations to the Hawk Haul, the Care Team offers students in need a free bag of groceries on Fridays year-round. Recipients are kept anonymous from Chaska students. The Care Team also provide families with food and gift cards over winter and spring breaks when students will not have access to meals at school. In times of crisis big or small, the Care Team organizes and provides homemade meals, gift cards, toiletries, school supplies, and any other items that a student may need. Students may submit special requests to school counselors at any time, regardless of the type or length of need.