An­gel Lifeline Shares Need To Feed Lin­coln Stu­dents

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

LIN­COLN — A non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps feeds chil­dren who have delin­quent lunch­room ac­counts in area schools is hop­ing the Lin­coln com­mu­nity will lend sup­port to the pro­gram.

Ken and Denise Gheen of Prairie Grove started An­gel Lifeline in 2012. All dona­tions made to the 501(c)3 or­ga­ni­za­tion are used for school lunches. The Gheens work out of a home of­fice and ab­sorb ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­penses for the pro­gram.

The cou­ple re­cently spoke to Lin­coln Area Ki­wa­nis Club and shared the need for more money from the Lin­coln area to ben­e­fit Lin­coln stu­dents.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, the Ki­wa­nis Club’s board of di­rec­tors im­me­di­ately voted to give $300 to An­gel Lifeline. An­other Ki­wa­nis mem­ber made out a per­sonal check to the or­ga­ni­za­tion and handed it over to the Gheens as they spoke.

An­gel Lifeline serves six ru­ral dis­tricts in Wash­ing­ton County but Lin­coln has a big­ger need than the other ru­ral schools which means it needs more money each month, said Ken Gheen.

The only dona­tions usu­ally re­ceived for the Lin­coln schools come from Ar­vest Foun­da­tion and this money also has to help stu­dents in the other Ar­vest com­mu­ni­ties, Gheen said. Ar­vest has banks in Farm­ing­ton, Prairie

Grove,

Fork.

“We have to dis­trib­ute fairly,” Gheen said.

Dona­tions for Lin­coln stu­dents can be made in sev­eral ways. Money can be dropped off at the schools and des­ig­nated for the Lifeline ac­count or mailed to An­gel Lifeline Inc., 208 Jenk­ins Road, Prairie Grove, AR 72753.

“The deal is to feed kids,” Gheen said.

Denise Gheen said the pro­gram ben­e­fits stu­dents by giv­ing them a hot meal for the day and also by pro­tect­ing their dig­nity. Most schools have an al­ter­na­tive lunch for those Lin­coln and West it stu­dents whose delin­quent ac­counts have a $15 bal­ance.

The way the pro­gram works, they said, is that the cashier is the per­son who de­cides whether to use Lifeline funds for a child’s lunch that day.

“If the ac­count is delin­quent and the child needs to eat, feed them,” Ken Gheen said.

Mary Ann Spears, su­per­in­ten­dent of Lin­coln Con­sol­i­dated School Dis­trict and a Ki­wa­nis mem­ber, said the dis­trict has had to write off as much as $10,000-$12,000 in delin­quent school lunch­room ac­counts some years. In such cases, the dis­trict’s gen­eral fund pays off the lunch­room debts.

“We’re the big­gest (need) be­cause we have the high­est poverty rate,” Spears said.

More than 70 per­cent of Lin­coln stu­dents qual­ify for the fed­eral free and re­duced lunch pro­gram.

Va­lerie Daw­son, Lin­coln’s food ser­vice di­rec­tor, said the dis­trict used money from the An­gel Lifeline pro­gram to pay for 883 meals in March. The An­gel Lifeline ac­count was used for meals at all three schools, she said.

Lifeline ben­e­fits Lin­coln stu­dents be­cause the lunch­room does not have to give them an al­ter­na­tive meal.

“Then it’s not em­bar­rass­ing to the kid,” Daw­son said.

Lin­coln’s al­ter­na­tive meal is a cheese sand­wich, piece of fruit and white milk.

COURTESY PHOTO

The photo above shows a 150-foot mono­pole cell tower in­stalled by Smith Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in Fort Smith. Smith Com­mu­ni­ca­tions has ex­pressed in­ter­est in in­stalling a new cell tower in Farm­ing­ton. The City Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing a new cell tower or­di­nance.

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