Sheilla Lampkin, pictured on the far right, presents a check representing the final balance of the disbanded Northside Extension Service Club to Louisa Smith and Alison Collins for the Feed the Kids program in Drew County. The following article was provided by Lampkin.
For several weeks we learned about the history of each of our local Extension Homemakers Clubs and the statewide movement that was their foundation. We also related that, like so many other traditional service organizations, the EHC program is finding waning interest among younger generations and memberships are decreasing to the point that the organization is trying in some ways to reinvent itself through special interest clubs.
As stated previously, the 50-plus-year-old Northside EHC has lost so many members to time that they were considering disbanding. Sadly, that decision has been made. The Northside EHC no longer exists. However, the club still had a bank balance so the decision was made by the four remaining active members that the funds would be donated to the Feed the Kids program.
As I understand it, the Feed the Kids program was begun by the Methodist Youth from First Methodist Church, the Rose Hill Youth and the Vera Lloyd Career Club under the adult leadership of Louisa Smith and Allison Collins. At every meeting additional helpers show up. The group collects donations, contributions and small grants to purchase nonperishable foodstuffs that are bagged monthly and distributed to needy children identified through the schools. This year 150 kids were identified in Monticello and Drew Central schools.
Please keep in mind that these children are young children who may not have any food on the weekends. Through Feed the Kids they receive nutritious, nonperishable food that does not require any preparation. The food is delivered to the respective schools for dispersal on Friday afternoons each week.
The Feed the Kids group meets the first Wednesday night of each month to sort and assemble these foodstuff packages. They pack 600 bags monthly at a cost of approximately $6 a bag. Foodstuff items packed often include beef ravioli, puddings, peanut butter and crackers, granola bars cereals, small cans of mixed fruit, applesauce, fruit punch, Vienna sausages, etc., although some items vary from month to month due to accessibility and supplies.
Quarterly, the group also packs and distributes 150 “clean-up bags” that include an assortment of toiletries. At this month’s meeting the bags contained washcloths, tissue, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, soap, hairbrush, mouthwash, etc.
This past summer Feed the Kids also received a grant and provided the children attending the Boys and Girls Club a lunch.
I was honored last Wednesday to attend the meeting to present the balance of the Northside EHC funds to the Feed the Kids program and I was humbled by the attitude and spirit of those many young people (as well as their adult leaders). In an increasingly apathetic society where so many would say “It’s not my problem”, I was thrilled that so many young people had been taught and truly cared about other children less fortunate and ecstatically proud that so many of our older youth have compassion in their hearts and are so willing to help those young children who have no control over their situations. Too many adults could learn a lot about “heart” from these youth groups.
So, even though the Northside EHC is gone, it has passed on its well wishes and its tradition of service to these compassionate and caring young people who are willing to help “Feed the Kids”. I can think of no better ending to a long history of service for the Northside EHC.
Incidentally, Feed the Kids is a nonprofit 501(3)c and would gladly accept any donations or help available.