‘Hope for Learning’ launches pilot program to support four families beyond the holidays

The pilot program - ‘Resource 180’ - will provide necessities to families through May and is seeking donations
The pilot program - ‘Resource 180’ - will provide necessities to families through May and is seeking donations
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 5:02 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It is the season of giving, but for some families throughout the Richmond area, the need for help will still be there once the holidays are over.

For that reason, a local non-profit has launched a pilot program to support four local families with a little help from the community.

For many, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but that is not the case for everyone. For Angela Garland, who is raising her four grandchildren alone, the holidays can be a dismal reminder of her daily, sometimes heartbreaking struggles.

“I’ve shed a few tears in the bathroom, went in there and had a mental breakdown, but you have to show some kind of faith,” Garland said. “When your rent is $700, and your check is $841, and that’s not counting lights, gas, water, necessities, anything like that, it is very hard, especially with Christmas coming up.”

Garland said she is not able to work because of a degenerative spine condition, so she depends heavily on her fixed income. She said she has managed to stretch her dollars with the help of coupons and freebie apps.

Still, nothing has been enough to support the ongoing needs of her grandchildren or their wishes for presents under the tree this Christmas. She said their primary needs are toiletries and anything for Christmas like clothes, shoes, “rainbow dolls” and monster trucks.

“I’m just looking for the Lord to fix it,” Garland said.

When Chuck Caple leaned about Garland and her family, he wasted no time stepping in. Caple is the executive director of the non-profit, Hope for Learning, which provides reading materials and other supplies to local youth.

“It really bothers me when I see people hurting,” said Caple, who decided to launch the organization at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

After decades of teaching in the beauty and hair industry, Caple decided to shift his focus during retirement to children from kindergarten to the fifth grade in underserved communities.

Since its inception, the non-profit has provided everything from tutoring and mentor services to books and bare necessities.

“We work with title one schools, which are schools where at least 47 percent of the school falls below poverty level,” Caple explained.

With the help of community partners like Richmond’s Lit Limo, which delivers books to schools and literary vending machines, Caple said more than 2,600 books have been provided throughout Chesterfield, Richmond and Henrico where they partner with schools.

Now, he is ready to take their mission a lot further.

When Caple and his team delivered snacks like granola bars, Jell-o and juices, oftentimes requests for other goods like canned food items, meats and veggies were made.

With that in mind, he decided to launch a pilot program called “Resource 180″, which will support four families, including Garland, across multiple school districts for the next six months.

Caple said the goal is to help eliminate distractions like hunger, so that children can focus and thrive.

“If a child is hungry, they can’t focus,” said Caple. “Once we get them through the Christmas holiday, we will do welfare checks from that point through May of next year.”

The program would start up again in the fall, when four new families would be selected.

With this mission at hand, Caple said community support is needed.

“The biggest thing we need right now are donors,” Caple said. “$10 a month can provide food for 10 kids and $19 a month can provide books for 40 kids.”

Whether it’s monthly donations or a single contribution, no amount is too small for the program.

“It’s just a great blessing and it would truly just help the kids,” Garland said.

If you would like to learn more about Hope for Learning or make a donation, visit the website here.