Growing Number of Students & Families Seeking Assistance

SAFE Fund Provides Needed Services & Support

Boise, ID -- 05/26/2020 -- An increasing number of Boise School District students and families are reaching out for help during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as a public health crisis has now become a financial crisis felt by families, as they try to put food on the table, pay rent or pay utilities. Families who never sought public assistance before are calling the District’s SAFE hotline - a service that connects students and families with needed services and support.

Launched on March 30, 2020, the SAFE hotline is staffed by Boise Schools social workers and counselors. Families can call in with requests for needs and will have a response and a plan within 48 hours. Over the last six weeks, the SAFE hotline has been able to help over 2,100 Boise Schools students and their family members with basic needs assistance, representing 41 different schools and a total of 489 District families.

“Our first focus is on providing immediate support for food, pharmacy and laundry needs for families,” explained Jennifer Henderson , executive director, Boise Public Schools Education Foundation. “In addition to community food pantries, we are offering electronic and physical gift cards to families for groceries, hygiene and pharmacy needs. We are also working with several laundromats to pay for laundry services for families. Since mid-April we have also been providing rental, internet and utility supports for families.”
Stories of Families in Need

Social workers who staff the SAFE Hotline share stories of family hardship never before thought possible. “I have heard from parents who have lost their jobs, lost their business and lost all their clients,” said Gia Trotter , social worker, Boise School District. Trotter recently gave a report to the Foundation on the impact the SAFE Hotline is having on families, including a family that she recently assisted. “With literally no income and being unable to work, this family, who has always had enough to feel comfortable, is worried to say the least.”

Trotter said the SAFE Fund is helping to pay for a portion of this family’s rent and assistance with food, and has provided the family with loan referral information and information to assist paying for utility costs. 
Donations Large & Small Make Everything Possible

The SAFE Hotline would not be possible without the support of donations, both large and small. To date, over $300,000 has been donated by individuals, businesses and foundations to the SAFE Fund. In the six short weeks that the SAFE Hotline has been in service, a total of $75,000 has been distributed to students and families. Over the next 3-4 months, the SAFE Fund will distribute $50,000 to $60,000 per month, if not more due to the anticipated need in our community.
The largest donation to the SAFE Fund from Bank of America will keep the SAFE Hotline in service for a month. We would also like to thank the Idaho Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund, Idaho Housing & Finance Home Partnership Foundation, Wells Fargo, Albertsons, US Bank, Deloitte, Jeker Foundation, Idaho Power, St. Luke’s, Boise Education Association, Micron Foundation, Langan Barber Foundation and the Harad Family Foundation for their support.

“The Boise Public Schools Education Foundation’s SAFE Hotline is an invaluable resource for families to have a trusted place to call for basic needs assistance during this challenging time,” said Kurt Walsdorf , Boise market president for Bank of America. “In an effort to help advance economic mobility, our approach at Bank of America involves working with our nonprofit partners as they respond to and aid our community. We are inspired the impact of these dedicated Boise Schools social workers and counselors on our youth.”
How You Can Help

If you know of a Boise School District student or family in need, please call the SAFE Hotline at (208) 472-2233. The SAFE Hotline provides services in English, Spanish, Arabic and Swahili. To donate to the SAFE Hotline Fund please go to

Boise School District is a nationally recognized, high performing public school system. We provide each and every student the opportunity to receive a comprehensive liberal arts education. Today, our students have more choices and educational opportunities than ever before. From pre-k to college and career prep offerings such as Advanced Placement, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Dual-Credit and Career-Technical, as well as elementary focus programs including Montessori, Dual-Language Immersion and Classical, Boise Schools offer the educational access and experience students need to be successful.
News Media Contacts:

Dan Hollar
Public Affairs Administrator
Boise School District
(208) 854-4064

Britney Sheehan
SVP, Media Relations Manager for the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah 
Bank of America
O 425.467.9744  M 425.533.4531 
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