The Bascom's & Patton's came to For The kids to help us pack bags. They had family in town and wanted to do a service project together.
For The Kids is honored they choose our organizaion. In a little over an hour they sorted over 600 bags. We hope they had as much fun as we did and they know they helped many kids right here in Salt Lake City.
Growing up in rural Louisiana I witnessed the financial challenges many families endured and how that impacted the lives of children. By having a father who was our school district’s Superintendent for many years I learned the importance of education as a way to promote a better future for all of those who take full advantage.
Kids who are well nourished are more likely to reach their educational potential, which can additionally foster increased self-confidence and a positive life style. All of us who are in more fortunate circumstances have a responsibility to make our communities and great country even better and “For the Kids” aims to do just that.
As proud supporters of the University of Utah Hospital Foundation and Louisiana FFA, my wife and I have seen firsthand the positive impact of financial giving and the long lasting effect that may have on our youth. I invite you to join us on this undertaking to help these kids reach their full educational capabilities, so they may have the opportunity to excel today and for the many tomorrows.
The truth is that I know I lack natural charisma and I don’t inspire people as easily as others, but what I do have is my story. I have a passion for volunteering because of where I came from. I start with a quote “Get Started, Make it happen”. (Author Unknown).
It really can be that simple.
My family poverty started when I was 5 years old and continued all the way through high school. I have a passion for helping children because I was one of those kids being swallowed up by poverty, wanting more but having no idea how to get there.
Part of my childhood was spent living at The Hub Motel and at times we lived in the back of a truck when we were in between motels or apartments. A single wide trailer with mismatching siding was what I came to call home until I was able to move in with a caring family and graduate high school. The help that I received during that time made a huge impact on me. I am not sure where I would be today if caring people had not shown me compassion and inspired me to believe that I could be more than what I was born into. I have grown to understand that it is not only important to plant a seed that grows hope in children but that when the effort is given you can make a difference.
When I was 9 my life flipped on its head and all of a sudden my family's stability changed. My dad committed a violent crime that put him in prison for the next ten years, he was the sole provider in our home. My mom started working 3 jobs to keep our home for my 4 sisters and I, all under 10 years old, we also needed food stamps and WIC, and everything that goes with that. It was scary. It was hard. It changed how I saw myself and how I valued myself. It is a piece of my life I have not shared with many.
There was a handful of people who reached out with a caring, non-judgemental hand, that showed me I still had value. It was the act of showing that they cared and knew of me that helped more than the food or clothes. Those acts of kindness and love I still carry in my heart. I value them deeply and can not think or talk about them without getting emotional.
A few years ago I started to help Minda with another nonprofit in Salt Lake City, who delivered food for the weekend. Honestly it was something to keep me busy and my mind off a trying to adopt a second child that I had no control of. My heart was not in it, I was just escaping my reality and trying to move on.
But then I saw the kids, I looked in their eyes, I could see the fear and the instability they were trying to hide. I recognized those feelings I had deeply buried so long ago. It shook me and brought all those feelings back to the surface.
I realized I had an opportunity to reach out and show that unconditional love and value I had been shown as a child. It was then that my heart was in. It was then I realized how it was not about the small bag of food, it was about caring for the children who had no control over the choice their parents made.
The nonprofit was good, but it was not enough, Minda and I saw the need was year round not just in the school year, we saw a need for mentoring and developing. We started For The Kids. It is so exciting and overwhelming, but the need is so great. Along with the food which we deliver weekly for the kids to have throughout the weekend, we just coordinated the donation of 375 Thanksgiving meals for the families at the two schools.
When I was 12 my mom remarried, Lance adopted me and my four sisters. Our lives were better. Many people helped me and my sisters growing up. I can not repay them I can only pay it forward.
After recovering from a decade long illness that left me completely bedridden, I started traveling the world. My eyes became open to the plight of children in some of the most poverty stricken countries of South East Asia, Central America, and Indonesia, and my heart swelled with a desire to help.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that this same poverty could exist in the United States, in Utah even.
I had to travel the entire world to see what I had not seen in my own backyard. I have since come to realize that it is a privilege to serve in our very own neighborhood. To make a change in the lives of children in our own community, means that we can improve our own lives and the lives of others right where we live.
It's not just feeding hungry kids, but changing their futures, and improving the future for us all. I am inspired by all the people around me who donate their time and resources to help others. Everyday I am surrounded by people who change the world. I cannot change the world. I cannot bring peace to our planet, fix climate change, or cure cancer. But I can make sure that hungry kids get fed.
In a world with ever growing needs and challenges, it is amazing to me, that there still are some problems that we don't need to wait for scientists, or world leaders to fix. Some problems can be fixed with Kraft Easy Mac and Cheese.
And today, we might just be feeding tomorrows scientists and world leaders.
After the Thanksgiving dinner delivery we did not know how we would be able to provide Christmas Dinners for families in our program. Suzanne Meyer, one of our amazing volunteers came to us with plan to make it possible. She went above and beyond from collecting donations, making personal donations, rounding up volunteers and even driving to 14 different Walmarts' to get the hams. We were able to deliver Christmas meals to the children in our program. THANK YOU Suzanne & Kurt Meyer and their family! Also thank you for the generous donations of Bennett Tueller Johnson & Deere LLC, Heather Davis and Larson Certified Public Accountants who helped make this#ChristmasMiracle possible.