Helping others in time of thanks

November 22, 2017

Tonganoxie-area families will join in with others across the nation in the annual tradition of getting stuffed on stuffing and all of the other Thanksgiving mainstays.

Many in the community are doing their part to help those whose circumstances make it tough to get enough nourishment each day. Those efforts also are focusing on youths.

Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Bank has been helping families in need for years, but there are some other organizations and efforts that are helping complement that assistance.

The Backpack Buddies is an effort in the school district that discreetly gets food into the hands of Tonganoxie children in need.

Tonganoxie Elementary School counselor Katie Welsh coordinates that drive for the entire district. Students and a fellow counselor helped highlight the program at this month’s Tonganoxie USD 464 school board meeting.

Tonganoxie Middle School counselor Rachel Padfield and a few TMS students presented a check for $450 to Welsh for Backpack Buddies.

The donation came through proceeds from a recent dance at TMS.

Padfield said it’s a good learning experience for many students in the process.

“They don’t know that all kids in this town aren’t as well off as we are today,” Padfield said. “They hear that some students need food for the weekend. And they think ‘What? What in the world?’”

Another program established earlier this year has paid more than $2,300 in negative lunch balances this school year in the Tonganoxie school district.

The group’s agreement with the USD 464 student nutrition department is that Full Hearts organization pay all the negative fund balances on a weekly basis.

The group’s Facebook page has some helpful reminders:

• Please do your best to keep account balances positive.

• Like and share this page. Help us get the word out about this fund.

• If you see a deposit on your child’s account from Full Hearts and you are able to make a donation to replenish the fund, that would be awesome!

• If you see a deposit on your child’s account from Full Hearts and you are not able to make a donation, know that as a community, we are honored to help each other out. If you, or your business, would like to make a donation, please make the check payable to Full Hearts. The donation can be made at First State Bank and Trust. They also can be given to any of the organizing members (Alissa Griffin, Christina Smith, Jamie Hendrickson, Jen Gumbel and Lorelei Witt).

Chieftain Cafe is another program that allows youths to obtain healthy options.

The program is available to all youths and takes place after school at the library’s community room.

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