Dear Jalissa

education, photography

Dear Jalissa,

Are you safe and warm this Christmas Eve? I heard on the news that the shelters around South Dallas are especially full this week. I pray that you and your family have found a place to be together and that you are not hungry tonight.

It feels strange for me to wish you a Merry Christmas. So, I will wish you peace in the midst of uncertainty, pain and loss. I pray for a bed to sleep in, a warm meal to eat and a sense of security tonight. And most of all, I wish you a hopeful Christmas season.

Hold fast to the belief that one day you will have a place to call home again.

All my love,

-Ms. Jackson

Dear Jada

education, photography

Dear Jada,

Please don’t be embarrassed that you are hungry. I am so grateful you opened up to me in your letter. You’re right; your behavior has been irrational lately. Now I know why.

I can’t give you any cash for food. But if you look under the plant on my desk on your way out of class today, you will find an envelop with several important papers inside. The yellow sheet explains that your meal account balance has been paid, and you have enough credit now for lunch and breakfast this week.

I talked to Ms. Johnson about how to connect your mom with a program that will provide food every day that you are not in school over winter break. I know how hard your mom is working to provide for you, your brothers and your sisters. I also know this time of year is expensive, and our community has a program for families who are in a tough spot financially.

You have nothing to apologize for and nothing to be embarrassed about. As much as possible, I want you to focus on preparing for your midterms. Trust that the adults in your life are working together to make sure this winter break will be different.

You will not go hungry.

All my love,

Ms. Jackson