Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Homeless supplies storage space established at Massaponax High

The Spotsylvania County school division has found a home for the busloads of supplies for homeless students and their families that were donated last fall, schools social worker Michelle Patton tells me.

As of Tuesday, supplies are being stored in and distributed from a trailer behind Massaponax High School at what is currently called the “Helping Hands”  closet.

Homeless students are tracked and served as part of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, federal legislation that first went into effect in 1987.

The school division has 561 students who fall into that category this school year, a 45 percent increase over last year at this time, Patton said. The closet also will be used to help meet the needs of the growing number of economically disadvantaged students in the county. Of an overall student enrollment of 23,775, 35 percent are currently classified as economically disadvantaged.

Students and their families can receive supplies by contacting their school social worker.

The community responded generously to the “Camp Out, Rock Out, Knock Out Homelessness Event” in October, giving enough items to fill about three school buses, Patton said. People also have been donating for the past year, since the issue of homeless students was detailed in an article by Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble.

But the items go quickly with the number of families who are classified as homeless or on the poverty line so the need is ever-present.

Patton said the following items are always needed:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Socks for men, women and children
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • Gift cards for Wawa and Walmart
  • Toiletries

Patton said she’s looking for the community’s help in finding a better name for the storage space.

People who want to drop off items or offer ideas for the name can contact Michelle Patton, Title I School Social Worker, 540-582-1069 x 5606, or Lisa Dolan, Lead School Social Worker, 540-582-2480.

They can also leave items in the box outside the first storage trailer behind Massaponax High School.