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NewsObituariesTown Talk SP4KPre-KBlood Drive

SP4K benefit changes lives one child at a time

Hunger is a serious subject and when that hunger is a child’s it is even more serious. The Parmer County Snack Pak 4 Kids program got a boost Saturday, April 1 at the Hi-Pro Feeds the Future benefit held at Country Rose. The Lucky Duck drawing, silent auction and live auction brought in approximately $64,000. The funds will be used to supply backpacks for food-insecure children in Parmer County.

Good food and fellowship were the order for the evening. The evening began with a Lucky Duck drawing and a silent auction while guests enjoyed appetizers. A lovely meal of chicken fried steak, ham, salmon was served with a number of side dishes and followed by desserts. The meal was catered by Canna Ray, owner of Country Rose.

Dyron Howell, the founder of Snack Pak 4 Kids, thanked everyone for coming out to support such a worthwhile opportunity to help the hungry children of Parmer County.

Heath Williamson, representative for Nutra Blend, presented special awards to Keeling Cattle Feeders Feedyard Consultant Henry Holdman, A-Tex Dairy owner Tom Alger and Blue Sky Farms owner Harry DeWit for their contributions to the SP4K program through shelf stable milk products and beef products. Clint and Sons, of White Deer, were recognized for developing a beef stick that will be in the backpacks. They will also donate the money raised by the sales of the beef sticks in stores to SP4K.

Howell told the crowd, of approximately 200, that in Amarillo they have 4,000 volunteers and over half of them are under the age of 18. “Kids helping kids doing something now, not later.”

Howell recognized JoBeth Gipson for establishing the local SP4K program five years ago and introduced FHS Junior Brooklynne Johnston who spoke passionately about her desire to begin a Snack Shack program at Friona High School for those students who are working to pay bills and help their parents and are in food-insecure situations.

Tascosa students have implemented the Snack Shack program and written a manual outlining the program for other schools to follow. The program is discreet and respectful of the student by allowing the students’ to signup anonymously online. When the student feels he/she no longer needs the help they can take themselves out of the program.

Howell introduced the evenings speaker, Steffanie Chew. Chew is currently the Principal of Wolflin Elementary in Amarillo.

She was skeptical at first to the SP4K program because of the fear of disappointing the children if it was taken away after a while. She and Howell spoke regularly and she relented. The program grew and did not go away. To date Wolflin Elementary has 62 students who are SP4K recipients.

Chew spoke about a few of her students who were so food-insecure that they would hide food in their pockets and backpacks. With one student they realized what was going on when there were complaints about his backpack smelling bad.

Chew asked the crowd to think of about their deepest disappointment as a child. With SP4K disappointing a child is not an option.

“Good old fashion common sense runs this program,” stated Chew, “Snack Pak just makes me happy!”

To date SP4K feeds over 7,000 food-insecure children in the Texas Panhandle.

“We can save all the children,” stated Chew. “We can inspire them and be the solution.”

Logan Harkey, auctioneer with Assiter Auctioneers, handled the live auction of outdoor grills, tool boxes, Garth Brooks concert tickets and much more.

Table sponsors for the evening were Atmos, A-Tex Dairy, Wilbur-Ellis, Blue Sky Farms, Caprock Dairy, Parmer Medical Center, Welch Farms/KD Cattle, southwest Ag, Monroe Farms, Parmer County Implement, Jarecki Custom Farms, Novus, Benchmark Solutions, Circle of Love Ministries, Friona InterBank, Bi-Wize Pharmacy, Keeling Cattle Feeders, Cargill, and Ricky Barnett Farms.

The food-insecure children in Parmer County will be provided for once again and there will be an expansion into the junior high and high schools in the county for those older food-insecure children.