A Shell Knob woman has inspired her grandchildren to make a difference this summer. Pat Prosen and her grandchildren, Jadan and Kirsten Polbert, of Berryville, Ark., are conducting a can collection project that will benefit the Joplin area.
"I wanted them to know that they can make a difference," said Prosen. "I know kids often think, 'I'm just a kid. What can I do?' I wanted them to know that there are things they can do."
The can collection project began when the children's Vacation Bible School class at Central Community United Methodist Church decided to raise funds to provide Joplin children with school supplies for the upcoming school year.
Jaden and Kirsten had heard about other youngsters hosting lemonade stands and other fundraisers to collect monies for Joplin. They asked Prosen to help them come up with a project to raise funds for their class donation.
"First, we were thinking about food fundraisers, but we learned that you have to have a sponsor who will cover liability insurance for you," said Prosen. "So, we decided we could collect cans. That is something that everyone buys and throws away. Plus, the cans aren't too heavy, and the kids can help carry them."
Prosen took Jaden and Kirsten to visit several Shell Knob businesses and encouraged the youngsters to tell business owners about their project and goals.
"They have collected over $100 worth of cans so far," said Prosen. "We have taken them twice to cash them in. We take them by the truck load."
After purchasing school supplies, which were donated through the Vacation Bible School class, the children decided to keep their fundraiser going. They plan to continue to collect cans through Labor Day, and make a large donation to either the American Red Cross or the Joplin School Fund.
"Their goal is to make as much as they can," said Prosen. "I would like to see them continue these types of projects. I will encourage them to raise funds for a different charity each year. They are learning a lot and are so happy doing it."
Community members interested in donating aluminum cans to the fundraising effort should call Prosen at 417-858-0456. Drop off and pick up times can be arranged.