December 23, 2009 Edition

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Event held at LCCS

Dr. Brett Cooper (left), a member of the Kiwanis Club, helps Katelyn Gilbert open a present during the Christmas party at the Lawrence County Cooperative School in Portia.
TD Photo ~ John Bland

The Lawrence County Cooperative School in Portia held its annual Christmas party on Dec. 16.

The Kiwanis Club partners with the school each year to help host the event and provides gifts for both students and adult clients.

"It's a wonderful event," Lisa Davis, director of the school, said. "The kids and individuals look so forward to it every year."

Davis said the club has been providing gifts for the party for more than 30 years.

According to Philip Clark, chair of the project, the club worked with Wal-Mart this year to purchase the gifts.

Davis said in addition to fun gifts, such as CDs for the older clients or toys for the little ones, gifts can also include a coat or cologne.

"People in the Kiwanis Club and in the community do not realize how much some of them benefit from the gifts they receive," Davis said.

In addition to providing gifts, Clark and Rev. Dale Hughart, who is president of the Kiwanis Club, presented a check for $1,500 to LCCS as part of the school's annual Mail-A-Thon.

The Mail-A-Thon raised a total of $7,050 including $90 raised during a promotion sponsored by Latham's Grocery and Gas in Portia. Three cents per gallon of fuel purchased on Dec. 4 went to the fund-raiser.

"We appreciate everyone who participated in that event," she said.

Davis said the Mail-A-Thon is an important part of the school's fund-raising efforts. While the school receives funding through Medicaid, some clients do not receive Medicaid, and there are some things that the school cannot use Medicaid money to fund.

She said money raised through fund-raisers helps pay for activities, such as Special Olympics, and has also been used for construction projects, such as the new adult building.

Davis said she hopes to see continued growth, and one goal is to build a new group home to serve more Lawrence County residents.

"The community has been very supportive throughout the years," she said.

Santa visited during the party and distributed gifts with the help of several Kiwanis Club members. Hughart also read the Christmas story from the Bible.

Kiwanis members also helped the children and adults open their gifts and enjoyed a time of fellowship. Following the party, the school served a traditional Christmas dinner.

The most fulfilling part of the event is watching the students open the presents, Davis said.

"They are so appreciative. I have heard so many Kiwanis members comment on their gratitude," she said. "They are so excited when they open their gifts."

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