Kids package gifts for vets

December 19, 2018

The Kids Klub students at Cody Elementary School continue the club’s heart of giving to veterans.

Last month, the Kids Klub afterschool program hosted a Canteen pancake feed for veterans at the D&N Event Center. On Tuesday, the Cody kids filled holiday care packages that the local Support Services for Veterans and Families organization will distribute.

“We bought the items for the gift bags with the goodwill donations collected at the pancake feed,” said Kids Klub Director Carrie Lienemann. “Also, the Walmart (Distribution Center) staff donated a majority of this stuff.”

SSVF coordinator Sam Golson said Kids Klub community liaison Melanie O’Brien approached him last year about the project.

“That resulted in the first round of gift bags last year,” he said.

Kristen Yonker, also with the SSVF, said the organization helps veterans work through housing problems.

“We help veterans that are in a housing situation where they might be evicted,” Yonker said. “We try to help them reassess their income and help them with job courses and military benefits.”

Yonker said the organization helps veterans pay for back rent and utilities.

“Kids Klub has partnered with us to give some of the goods to our veterans who are in need,” Yonker said.

Golson said the gift-bag effort has grown this year.

“There was a bigger pancake feed and the Walmart Distribution Center collected donations to give out to us,” Golson said. “It was so cool because the kids made Christmas cards last year. They said things like ‘You’re a hero,’ ‘I love you.’ It was so amazing, it was so cool.”

One veteran inspired the inclusion of something as simple as water bottles for the gift bags.

“He got tired of drinking the same thing and didn’t have the funding to do anything about it,” Golson said. “Because of the gift bags, we were able to give him something to eat, and then they put the Neo Water Enhancers in the bag so he was able to have something that wasn’t just plain water.”

Golson said the little things that most people would never think of make the biggest impact.

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