Items for students in need have begun to accumulate at the Regional Office of Education in Champaign.

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Every year, the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Connections Program gathers supplies for homeless students. But this year, those funds have dwindled due to an increased need with students learning from home.

So this year, the CUSF, in partnership with the Regional Office of Education, United Way of Champaign County, City of Champaign and Cunningham Township, is pushing for more help for students in need.

Along with a page to donate money at, the groups have put together an Amazon wish list where community members can buy winter clothes, school supplies and toiletries directly for those students.

“The concept was to let the community know that we need their help,” C-U Schools Foundation Executive Director Kelly Hill said, “and it’s been amazing.”

While donations have poured in, plenty of items, including sweatshirts, boots, books, soap and crayons, are still left to be purchased.

The items are delivered to the Regional Office of Education, who will distribute them.

The drive will continue for two more weeks, Hill said.

“It’s been pretty amazing to see what we’ve already collected,” Hill said. “As we come up to the new year, there’s the possibility that there’s going to be more evictions and more students that are challenged and not have a place to call home.

“We’re really concerned how that’s going to affect our community, how that’s going to affect our schools and trying to do something pre-emptively to support those families that fall into that category and give them a hand up so they can get out of that situation and into a more stable situation so their kids can do normal things that normal kids do.”

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