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Posted on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

Education Project brings holiday gifts to 425 homeless children in Washtenaw County

By Jen Eyer


Ruth Shamraj of the Institute for Social Research grabs a box filled with gifts as she helps unload a car into the Washtenaw Intermediate School District for a gift drive on Monday morning.

Melanie Maxwell I

The Education Project is distributing 425 holiday gifts this week to students across Washtenaw County who are either homeless or living in temporary situations.

The gifts are provided in partnership with several area businesses and organizations.

"I'm just thrilled that so many community partners stepped up and gave so generously," project coordinator Peri Stone-Palmquist wrote to me in an email. "This is quite an accomplishment. We're so thankful!"

This is the fourth year of the holiday gift drive, but the project is giving out 80 percent more gifts than it did the first year, due to the sharp increase in homelessness. The Education Project is a grant-funded project of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District that helps homeless students enroll, attend and succeed in school.

Through the gift drive, younger students receive books, a game, hat, gloves and other goodies. Older students receive a gift card. Gifts are delivered privately at school.

Gift sponsors included the Institute for Social Research at University of Michigan, Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Motawi Tileworks, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Zingerman’s Service Network, State Farm Insurance agents from Washtenaw and Monroe Counties, St. James Episcopal Church of Dexter, Kiwanis Club Of Ann Arbor-Morning Edition, Comerica Bank, Google Community Affairs, Dexter Community Schools, UAW Local 892 and several community volunteers.

ISR donated 175 gifts through several groups within the organization, including ISR Feeds, Survey Research Center Professional Advisory Committee and the Director's Advisory Committee on Diversity (DACD).

Jen Eyer is the Community Director for Do you have a community story to share? Contact Jen at