There are children in the Tomah School District who can’t properly dress themselves because their family can’t afford clothes.

Members of the Tomah FFA wanted to do something about it.

FFA members just finished collecting 650 pounds of clothing. The items are stored at the Robert Kupper Learning Center and are available to any child in need.

“When you go to the high school, you can see students who don’t have as much, and it kind of gets to you,” said senior Ashley Westberg, the FFA member who headed up the drive.

FFA members contacted area businesses in October and asked permission to leave collection boxes through Nov. 28.

“Almost all of them said we could leave a box there,” Westberg said.

Dr. Paul Skofronick, principal at the Robert Kupper Learning Center, said the problem identified by FFA members is real. The school district has 96 homeless students, and the number has grown every year.

He said it has an impact in the classroom.

“You see so many students without proper clothing,” Skofronick said. “You can’t wear flip-flops and a t-shirt in the winter — you need boots and a coat. If kids don’t have their basic needs met, they’re not going to learn.”

FFA advisor Nelda Bailey said her students were looking for a project that embodied community service. She said the Tomah Middle School FFA has conducted brat sales and sold Santa hats to assist families in need.

“They wanted to make an impact on the community,” Bailey said.

Sophomore Anne Peterson, FFA secretary, believes they have.

“This is one of the better things we’ve done,” Peterson said. “It was good to do something and see that it benefits our peers.”

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