By JENNIE INGRAM | Reporter
Two Palisadian moms, Lisa Biscaichipy and Emily Mackay, set out on a mission to give back to the community. Knowing they love food and helping other people, they decided to look at food deprivation by researching, networking and talking to nonprofits.
What they discovered is that over 30% of kids in LAUSD are on free or reduced lunch.
“We realized that in our backyard, there are needs that can be met, and we decided to dig deep in a small area,” said Mackay, mother of two.
They felt that their resources could be best utilized at the high school level. By joining forces with Pali Cares, they began designing an Amazon Wish List so that people could click on it and buy what students need to succeed. It would be an easy way for the community to donate to disadvantaged teens at Palisades Charter High School.
Pali Cares is a nonprofit, set up 2016, that supports over 50 kids within their student body with the biggest need. Their mission continues to be to provide for the “mind, body and soul” of Palisades students, said Andrea King, who heads up the library and oversees the program.
“You qualify by asking for help,” said King, there are no other prerequisites.
All of the students are anonymous and the teachers make an effort to keep it that way. The students are listed and organized by a number instead of a name. All the items through Pali Cares are free.
One of the features of Pali Cares has been the “Take Ten” program that gives kids who come off the bus an option to go to a room and have 10 minutes before school starts to have a bite to eat, print out their homework or freshen up a bit before class.
Biscaichipy and Mackay took the request list given to them by Pali Cares and priced it out to give a tiered price sheet for potential donors. They worked hard over the summer to create and send out the Amazon Wish List to people they knew, and by the start of school, donations started arriving at Pali High.
King came back to school to see all of these boxes directly sent from Amazon. She discovered such goodies as a box of knapsacks, school supplies and clothes. She said those types of items can really help.
“It’s important for kids to be wearing new clothes,” King said. “We don’t want a student at Pali commenting that another kid is wearing their old clothes,” referring to donations of used items.
Pali Cares wants to expand to help as many kids as possible. One goal is to have a more permanent place on campus to host the items and give kids the opportunity to come and get what they need, sort of like a little store.
Pali Cares is run by staff members King, Kimberley Theard, Sherry Martin, and parents, Jill Taylor, Fay Ariz Seggelke and Cindy Freedland. The program sprung out of a similar program, called Revere Cares, set up by Taylor and Fay Seggelke, along with Justin Koretz, to help struggling families at their school.
Those interested in donating may do so at amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1V6ESNHK9E6JB?ref_=wl_share.