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June 16, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Two Nodaway County non-profit organizations will be able to make back-to-school time a little brighter for some area children, thanks to $9,000 in grant funds awarded to them by Northwest's non-profit leadership and management class.
This spring, students in the class awarded $5,500 to Community Services Inc. and $3,500 to the Ministry Center. This year's class sought to serve 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that work in the areas of youth health and development, elderly, and animal rescue and preservation.
Community Services is a private, non-profit corporation that contracts with Federal and State funding sources to operate programs and provide services to low-income, elderly, and handicapped individuals in Northwest Missouri.
David Weichinger, the Nodaway County director for Community Services, said the organization will use the funding for its 19th Annual Back To School Fair, which provides low-income families with information about health and safety issues.
The fair serves more than 300 Nodaway County children who are provided with backpacks filled with school supplies, clothing and hygiene products.
"How important is it to see the clothes you get to wear that first day?" said Norma Eckerson, special projects coordinator for Community Services. "It's so important, and they get to pick their own back pack."
Community Services board members said the annual fair is important because it helps families who might not be able to afford new school supplies and other items for their children that help build their self-esteem.
"If it hadn't been for this donation, we would not have had all the things we like to give to kids," Weichinger said. "In light of the economy, donations are down."
The Ministry Center, located at 971 S. Main in Maryville, serves hundreds of families each year by providing groceries and supplies each month to struggling families, elderly and disabled individuals in Nodaway County. The center is supported by area churches.
Food Pantry Director Rod Shain said the funding provided to the Ministry Center will go toward launching a new program this fall, called "Backpack Buddies." The program will provide weekend meals and snacks to about 250 children who receive free or reduced lunches at Nodaway County schools.
"You can't believe how much this helps," Shain said of the funding. "Any amount helps. It takes $135 for each child for the entire school year, so that's going to buy for a lot of children right there."
Amy Nally, Northwest's director of volunteer, service learning and civic engagement, instructs the non-profit leadership and management class. With grant-funding provided by Campus Compact and the Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund , the course objective is to educate students about philanthropy with an emphasis on the community, grant-making and fundraising. The course, which takes place during the spring trimester, gives students experience in all facets of non-profit work, from development to promotion.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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