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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local high schools again raising money to pay needy families’ heating bills

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 16, 2021

Local high schools have raised almost $5,000 to help Spokane families pay their heating bills.

The goal of the “spirit rally” is to exceed last year’s total of $20,000. That’s partly because job losses related to COVID-19 have made the need even greater this year.

Money raised will be donated to the Spokane Neighborhood Assistance Program, or SNAP, which will direct it to families who need it most.

Last year’s high school campaign began last spring, “but SNAP wanted us to do it a little sooner this year,” said Mark Robbins, an English teacher at Lewis and Clark High School.

Because of COVID-related job losses, the need is even greater this year.

Robbins said that while most educators have enjoyed job security during the pandemic, they “recognize how much job loss there has been.

“From what we know, in Spokane and around the country, the need is staggering,” Robbins said.

The competition includes most larger schools in Spokane and Spokane Valley.

Two weeks into the campaign, it has raised $4,906, almost three-quarters from donors affiliated with Lewis and Clark.

SNAP has helped roughly 2,000 families with rental assistance this winter, and thousands more with their utility bills.

Many students rely on SNAP’s Keeping the Lights On program to help them attend virtual school and stay warm, and stay healthy.

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