Soroptimists distribute annual grants
Several local organizations received grants from Soroptimist International of Barry County during a luncheon held in the Cassville United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall on April 26.
"This is the reason we sell all of those nuts," said Christel Roller, club president. "This allows us to give back to our community."
Grants were awarded to the LUC Boys Ranch, the Barry County Youth Camp, the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign and Arc of the Ozarks.
"All of these groups have children involved in some aspect," said Cheryl Williams, who served on the grant selection committee.
Shirley Bass, who has served as a director for the Barry County Youth Camp for 47 years, gave a brief overview of the program, which is offered for 7- to 10-year-old children at Camp Smokey in Roaring River State Park each summer.
"We serve around 100 children who would not have the chance to go to camp otherwise," said Bass. "Funding for the grant is provided by donations only.
"We try to offer a fun time for the kids and lots of love," added Bass.
Throughout the week, children attending the camp have the opportunity to swim, hike and take part in an assortment of other programs. Each year, the four-day camp concludes with a carnival event that offers games and a variety of carnival food.
Robin Boring, Arc of the Ozarks Monett Division director, offered information on her program, which serves individuals with disabilities who live in Barry and Lawrence counties. Arc of the Ozarks' corporate office is located in Springfield.
"We are the biggest provider of services in southwest Missouri," said Boring. "We offer apartments and a day program in Cassville."
Arc of the Ozarks offers similar services in Monett. The northern Barry County office also provides individualized personal assistance services for individuals in their homes.
"We are funded through the Department of Mental Health and donations, such as this one," said Boring. "The Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled has also supported us in so many ways. Their support has allowed us to add to the program."
Jill LeCompte, Cassville YMCA Board member, spoke about the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, which offers financial assistance to children interested in participating in Y programs.
"All contributions go toward helping kids take part in activities like soccer and flag football," said LeCompte. "I think we have collected $9,000 so far this year, but $9,000 is not enough. We allow every kid to participate even if they don't have the money."
Ken Ortman, from LUC Boys Ranch, was unable to attend the luncheon.
In addition to distributing four grants, Soroptimist members collected household items for the Cassville Community Food Pantry during the event.
"They have had an overabundance of people partaking of the pantry over the last few years," said Roller.
Household items and hygiene products are accepted at the food pantry, which is located at the Cassville United Methodist Church, at any time. Items are distributed to local needy families who seek assistance at the pantry.