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BENV Kiwanis provides backpacks for local Children and Youth

‘Backing the Kids’

PHOTO PROVIDED BENV President Penny Meyers, left, and Backpack Project chairperson Della Watson present backpacks to Children and Youth representative Clarissa Shirk.

MILL HALL — The Kiwanis Club of Bald Eagle and Nittany Valleys (BENV) recently provided the first of what it hopes will be several deliveries as part of a new service project called “Backing the Kids.”

This project involves working with Clinton County Children and Youth by providing backpacks to children from the ages of newborn to 19 when they are removed from their homes and placed in foster care.

Many times, the children are removed on short notice with little but the clothing on their backs. The club’s goal is to provide a child with a backpack that includes toiletries, jammies or socks, a book, a small toy, etc., suited to the age of the child.

The project generated support in the form of donations from the club’s regular members, corporate members, and other community members and business partners.

Walmart, Avery Dennison, Dean Wetzler’s Funeral Home, the Clinton County Community Dental Clinic, and Jersey Shore State Bank contributed funds or materials to the project, and Miller Bros. Auto Sales provided a central location for receiving product donations.

Books for putting in the backpacks were provided through a grant from the PA Kiwanis Foundation. The Lock Haven University Circle K Club placed collection boxes on campus to receive donations from students and Circle K members participated in assembling the backpacks. Circle K is the college-level Kiwanis Service Leadership Program club and the LHU club is sponsored by Kiwanis of BENV.

BENV and Circle K members gathered on April 7 at the Sons of Italy to assemble over 50 backpacks that were presented to Children and Youth representative Clarissa Shirk at a meeting on April 21. Clarissa expressed her thanks to the group saying that children being removed from their homes need to know that others are caring for them and the backpacks provide an example of this care. BENV project chairperson Della Watson added her thanks to members for their work on making the project a success.

The club intends to make this a continuing service project. Anyone wishing to learn more about the project or how to make a donation can contact the club via email at benvkiwanis@gmail.com or view the club’s web site at www.kiwanisofbenv.org.

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