A Gift of Love works with Douglas County elementary and middle schools to provide needy students with food for the weekend and school supplies throughout the school year.
Juanita Clay of A Gift of Love was guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Douglas County’s luncheon last Friday. She has been operating A Gift of Love for the past two decades. A Gift of Love currently works with elementary and middle schools by filling backpacks with a weekend’s supply of easily prepared food for needy youth. Many needy families are unable to feed their families over the weekends.
The Kiwanis Club held its annual pancake breakfast on May 18 to raise money in support of A Gift of Love and to help with the youth program. All funds totaling $2,624.85 raised at the Pancake Breakfast were given to Clay to help provide food for needy families.
The nonprofit organization originally started out with a backpack program of new school supplies and clothes for local needy youth. It has grown from back to school supplies to the current weekend backpack program which now also supplies food each weekend. Backpacks are returned to the school and refilled for distribution on a weekly basis.
New clothes for kids on the first day of school make a great difference in the student’s attitude and self esteem. All students are delighted on the first day of school to have a new book bag filled with everything they need to begin the school year.
Throughout the school year a total of 675 youth are served on a weekly basis. During the summer months, food is provided for 1,100 to 1,200 kids. In order to assemble this amount of supplies, Clay has 30-plus volunteers on a weekly basis who put everything together. Without these volunteers, it would be impossible.
The Kiwanis Club is grateful to Mike Shannon and Publix for furnishing supplies for the Pancake Breakfast and to everyone who purchased pancake tickets or made a donation. The club is also grateful to the students from high school Key Clubs who came to work or sold tickets and to the Girl Scouts who also assisted in serving and cleaning tables.