Assisting Spark Students During COVID-19

UT Spark students need your help during COVID19March 30th, 2020

As we continue to learn more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we recognize the impact that this situation places on the ability for our independent students to pay for their basic necessities.

Spark students were relying on consistent paychecks and no longer have jobs due to the community and university closures. We also have students in our program who are a high health risk or have high health risk roommates or family members, meaning they’re not able to take open jobs at essential businesses where they would be interacting with large volumes of people.

We have some students that need help immediately, but we know that the need will keep growing over time with city-related closures. For this reason, we are currently looking for solutions to best support UT students previously in the foster system and would appreciate any assistance you can provide.

What you can do to help:

We are asking for e-gift cards, with a minimum $25 per card, for HEB, Walmart, and Target to be used for food, household items, and immediate needs.


  1. You can purchase a gift card online directly at Target and Walmart and email them to Shannon Mann-Butler, Spark Program Coordinator, at If you’d like to purchase a gift card from HEB, please contact Shannon via email first and she will navigate you through the process.
  2. Please be sure to include your name, email address and mailing address along with the gift cards you email to Shannon.
  3. We will send you a confirmation via email.
  4. As a receipt, you will also receive a donation letter. In this letter, we will share the first name of the student who received your donation. If students are able, they will be asked to write thank you letters.

We appreciate any assistance that you can provide, and we hope that you are staying safe and healthy during this time.