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School district homeless receives financial shot in the arm

The word “stunned” would be an accurate description of Linda Fitzgibbons’ reaction during a recent check presentation.

Fitzgibbons, the Nye County School District’s prekindergarten homeless liaison received $1,400 from the Pahrump Moose Lodge for the program she directs.

The Moose Lodge’s Women of the Moose group raised the funds from a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and bake sale last month.

Though the funds were more than welcomed, Fitzgibbons said she was caught off-guard when an additional check totaling $2,500 was presented, courtesy of the Valley Cruisers of Pahrump.

“Obviously, it was quite a surprise to me,” she said. “I was at the Moose Lodge to collect the donation from the spaghetti dinner fundraiser and we knew that was coming, but at the last minute, they told me to stay and the gentleman from the Valley Cruisers of Pahrump really went out of their way to provide us with this much-needed funding.”

Grants primarily fund the homeless program.

As of last month, approximately 240 students have been identified as homeless.

Fitzgibbons said along with the regular fundraisers throughout the year, she’s considering taking the program to another level, to the benefit of the students the program serves.

“These funds are extremely important, and as a matter of fact, with the funding we have been receiving from our community, we are going to have to look at what we want to do to take it to another level. Once we reached a certain threshold, we realized that we want to be able to offer scholarships. With all of these additional funds, we want to look at that next level and what it might be.”

In the meantime, Fitzgibbons said she was pleased to learn that the number of homeless students within the district has actually fallen when compared to last year.

“That’s the good news,” she said. “My hope is that we are going to end this year with lower numbers than last year. I think that may be happening because our economy is a little bit better and people are better able to find jobs and housing.”

Additionally, Fitzgibbons noted that she and district officials are looking for other ways to use the funds.

“It’s still kind of early to see where those funds might go right now and what the school district can do with them,” she said. “We don’t want to stay stagnant, because we want to be able to use these funds and get them to our kids. This is going to allow us to literally look at what is it that we want to do to expand. What I want to do, and what we actually can do, are two totally different things.”

Wherever Fitzgibbons and district officials decide to use the additional funding, she was more than appreciative for the efforts of the Pahrump Moose Lodge and the Valley Cruisers of Pahrump for their respective efforts in raising the money.

“The Moose Lodge has been so wonderful and this is the second time they’ve done this for us,” she said. “They have just been so good to our community as a whole. Not only are they donating cash, but their members are donating items of necessity as well.”

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