McDon­ald County 4Kids Plans Food Pack­ages For Hol­i­days

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Sally Car­roll McDon­ald County Press scar­[email protected]

The hol­i­days can be a stress on the cup­board. Fi­nan­cial strains can ham­per food avail­abil­ity for McDon­ald County chil­dren and fam­i­lies.

One lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion helps those chil­dren through­out the year with a spe­cial fo­cus around the hol­i­days.

McDon­ald County 4Kids co­or­di­na­tor Deb­o­rah Pear­son said the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion helps feed 300 chil­dren each week.

“If you’re hun­gry, you don’t learn,” Pear­son said.

As prin­ci­pal of Noel Pri­mary School, Pear­son sees a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent coun­tries rep­re­sented in Noel. Mak­ing sure that all fam­i­lies un­der­stand the im­por­tance of school at­ten­dance, then prop­erly equip­ping chil­dren to learn, is im­por­tant, she said.

Each school sends 30 pack­ages of food home to chil­dren weekly.

Vol­un­teers also ex­tend food pack­ages to the fam­i­lies of chil­dren. Fam­ily mem­bers of­ten don’t have enough food to eat.

“We feed our fam­i­lies,” Pear­son said.

Dur­ing this time of year, lo­cal cup­boards — and the 4Kids food sup­ply — are tapped. Around the hol­i­days, or­ga­niz­ers and vol­un­teers pack quite a bit of ex­tra sup­plies into the pack­ages.

Or­ga­niz­ers be­lieve, how­ever, they are on their way to be­ing well-stocked, thanks in part to a re­cent fundraiser and a lo­cal food drive.

Re­tired art teacher Char­lene Ber­gen re­cently led a paint­ing class, with par­tic­i­pants cre­at­ing a col­or­ful, fall paint­ing fea­tur­ing pump­kins. “She is a pretty amaz­ing lady,” Pear­son said. “It was a re­ally fun time and they all turned out great.”

Ber­gen chooses an or­ga­ni­za­tion to sup­port each month and helped the 4Kids group by host­ing the paint­ing in­struc­tion.

The ex­tra $500 raised will help se­cure more food pur­chases, Pear­son said.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion also has re­ceived an in­flux with the help from a re­cent food do­na­tion drive. Pear­son said the re­sponse for help is bet­ter re­ceived with spe­cific re­quests.

“Peo­ple have been very gen­er­ous,” she said. “This com­mu­nity has such a giv­ing heart. We are very blessed.”

Vol­un­teers are sched­uled to pack up the food pack­ages on Nov. 15, right be­fore stu­dents leave for the Thanks­giv­ing break.

Any­one want­ing to do­nate food items is wel­come to do so. Food items not dis­trib­uted this time around will be uti­lized for the up­com­ing Christ­mas break, she said.

To do­nate, con­tact Pear­son at the Noel Pri­mary School, 417-475-3900.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Re­tired art teacher Char­lene Ber­gen leads a fall paint­ing class as a fundraiser for MC4Kids in Noel. The $500 raised will help se­cure ad­di­tional food sta­ples for lo­cal fam­i­lies over the hol­i­day sea­son. Food do­na­tions are still be ac­cepted at any lo­cal school.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Bud­ding artists learn the in­tri­ca­cies of paint­ing col­or­ful pump­kins dur­ing a re­cent MC4Kids fundraiser in Noel. Re­tired art teacher Char­lene Ber­gen gave the par­tic­i­pants tips in cre­at­ing a fall paint­ing.

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