KALISPELL – The Heart Locker is a space in Kalispell where high school students can get clothes, school supplies and personal hygiene products for no cost and no questions asked.
Director Nichole Heyer won a National Homeless Liaison of the Year award last year for her efforts. She works as a liaison for both Kalispell and Evergreen schools where she discovered there was a gap in the needs of students being met.
Heyer says over one-in-four students in the Kalispell/Evergreen area live in poverty and she started the Heart Locker to fill basic needs for students so they can focus on school work and graduating.
Her efforts are working, she tells MTN. Last year Flathead Valley high schools had the highest rate of graduation from underprivileged students.
“There are about 350 students throughout the course of the school year who struggle with homelessness to some degree. So, what that looks like most frequently are people who are already living in poverty who ran into a roadblock and for whatever reason that month they were short on their rent,” explained Heyer.
In addition to the main location in Kalispell, each high school has a heart store. School locations help students that don’t have transportation to get to the heart locker.
The Heart Locker is always looking for clothing and school supply donations. Click here if you are interested in making a donation.
Reporting by Maren Siu for MTN News