12/08/2014 10:24 EST | Updated 02/07/2015 05:59 EST

Vancouver School District's emergency fund for students dangerously low

An emergency fund for students in need is dangerously low,  after Vancouver School board administrators had to dip into it for a number of emergencies last year.

VSB Chair Patti Bacchus said the emergency money is not used to purchase equipment or run programs.

It is exclusively reserved for helping students in crisis with emergency needs like clothing, shoes, warm winter boots and eyeglasses.

"Often the parents of these children are recently unemployed, uninsured, recently separated or facing domestic issues," said Bacchus.

"This fund supports the district in quickly intervening and ensuring crisis situations are mitigated."

Principals are the schools determine which students are eligible for the emergency funding.

Last year the district doled out more than $10,000 to students at 26 different schools who requested emergency financial support, said VSB spokesman Kurt Heinrich.

This year, it has less than $8,000 left.

"If we're not able to top it up, we won't be able to meet those needs," said Heinrich.

Anyone who wishes to support the fund is asked to contact the Vancouver School Board at 604-713-4448.