Rural Kids Coalition serves rural families across the Ozarks

Published: Sep. 7, 2019 at 9:20 PM CDT
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Organizations from around the Ozarks teamed up in Sparta, Missouri, Saturday to serve families in need.

The Rural Kids Coalition held its very first mobile mission, a new project they plan to roll out over the next few years.

Families from the Sparta, Chadwick, Brunder and Oldfield areas were invited.

"We have clothing and shoes set up in the gym. We have school supplies and backpacks set up by School Kits for Cool Kids, we have Finley River Ministries in the Ozarks Teen Transition program they're behind me here with hygiene kids and drug prevention," said Ashtyn Fischer with Abundant Blessings.

Abundant Blessings provided the clothes and shoe.

Least of These with the Christian County Food Pantry was also at the event. They provided boxes of food for each family to take home when they walked out the door.

Tracy Browning with Ozarks Teen Transition Program said the literature she had available for families could impact their lives just as much as a new coat or backpack.

"It's to help kids in the Ozarks understand drug use but even more importantly to reach the parents and to kind of help break that stigma that's attached to drug use and mental health awareness," she said.

Robbi Sidyakin said she is new to the area. She brought her newly adopted son.

"We were blessed with receiving our 10-year-old in April and he came with nothing," Sidyakin said. "He came with the clothes on his back, he came with a backpack and that was it."

The coalition's mobile mission helped change that.

"For them to be able to have clothes that are nice, they're not torn, they're not stained, they're in good condition to feel proud of themselves as they go to school as they're around other children is a huge benefit to their moral, it's a boost to their moral," she said.

Volunteers walked families through each station.

"To be able to be a part of picking out and to choose their style and to choose what they want is a huge thing it helps with self identity and that is a huge thing," Sidyakin said.

Families didn't leave until they had more than they could carry.

"We're hauling out bags to their cars with them because they have too much to carry," said Fischer. "My thought is they came in with their hands empty, they're leaving with their hands full, so hopefully they're leaving with their hearts full as well."

The coalition's next mobile mission is at Highlandville Elementary School on October 5. It will serve families in the Spokane and Highlandville area.

Applications for that event are still open.