Students can’t learn if they don’t have a warm house or a full stomach, and teachers can only do so much for students in need while still trying to teach. This is why over the past decade the McCallum HS PTSA has been administering a team called MACares, dedicated to addressing these needs. MACares supports the McCallum Licensed Mental Health Professional and counselors to assist students and families in crisis or high-risk situations with meals, housing, and other emergency needs that can’t be met through other means.

Students are able to receive assistance in the form of snacks throughout the day, grocery gift cards, mental health and mindfulness supplies, holiday assistance, dorm room shopping for graduating seniors in need, financial assistance, and individual support as needed for accessing other community resources. This program is not just for students at McCallum, but for all 10 schools in the Mac vertical team. 

The Mac Vertical Team is socioeconomically diverse, with six of the schools Title 1 schools. McCallum also has a number of students who are homeless and/or “unaccompanied.” These students and families often live in shelters, temporary housing, with other families. MACares is able to provide support in a number of ways to these students and families to help them move from a crisis situation to stability.

So far this school year, MACares has helped newly-arrived refugees with clothing and household needs, families with furniture, rent, and utility payments, bicycle and gas cards for students to get to school, and gift cards for groceries and other needs. We have provided dinners for Mac students enrolled in a credit-recovery program, healthy snacks in the Mac counselors’ offices for students without adequate food at home, and holiday presents for families at all schools.

Funding MACares takes a village, which is where the community can help.

Every membership to the McCallum PTSA helps grow our budget. In addition, donations of gift cards to H-E-B, Walmart, and Shell Gas, or non-perishable snacks, can be dropped off at the McCallum front office, attn: Christel Gilbreath.

You can shop our Ten Thousand Villages fundraiser (this year’s fundraiser is over but look for it annually in late November or early December), drop off your old prom wear, assist with dorm  room shopping for graduating seniors in need,

It’s also easy to directly donate funds online or in the form of a check made payable to McCallum High School PTSA (please include MACares in the memo line). The mailing address is PTSA, McCallum High School, 5600 Sunshine Dr., Austin Texas 78756. Contact macknightsptsa@gmail.com with questions.

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