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"Food for America" educates on farm-to-table process

Kids helping younger kids on this, the last day of school before the Thanksgiving break.

This is all part of the high school “FFA’s” “Food for America” program.

Students educated kids from Wildwood Elementary on the farm-to-table process.

It’s something they do every year.

“Usually a pretty good response. They like the hands-on things, they get to see the animals. They get to learn some neat facts about the animals, and then we have a hands-on activity on what soil is. They’re gettin’ to make soil dirt cups,” said Jeff Rush, SHS Ag Instructor.

“We were using chocolate pudding, crunched up Oreos and crunched up graham crackers. The pudding was the clay, the graham cracker was sand and Oreos was seal, and when you mix it together, showing them like what loam was, which is perfect soil mixture for growing crops,” said Baron Ellis, SHS FFA President.

The payoff, the kids could eat the finished product.

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Wreaths Across America

WEBB CITY, Mo. — She’s the local woman who’s on a wreath mission.

Susie Crutcher is a volunteer with “Wreaths Across America”, a nationwide organization that helps put wreaths on the headstones of our country’s Veterans.

For the first time ever, they’ll be part of “Mt. Hope Cemetery” in Webb City, which is where more than 1,100 Veterans are laid to rest.

Each wreath needs to be sponsored.

“You know, I think the purpose of a lot of this is to teach the next generation the respect and honor that these veterans and those who are currently serving and those who will serve in the future. Just the respect for them and what they do for our country,” said Susie Crutcher, Volunteer, Wreaths Across America.

The deadline to sponsor a wreath is November 29th, and anyone can do it.

Those interested can find all the pertinent information on the Wreaths Across America website, here.

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MCHS creates "Elf on the Shelf" kits for FCCLA fundraiser

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Santa’s little helpers kept busy in St. Nick’s McDonald County workshop Thursday. They’re having a little fun of their own to make sure as many people as possible — especially busy families — can keep up their holiday tradition. A room in McDonald County High School has turned into Santa’s workshop.

“This time of year, the North Pole is extremely busy, so our kids are helping Santa with his elves that come and watch the kids,” said Marie Strader, MCHS FCCLA Sponsor.

Students in McDonald County High School’s “Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America” group are creating “Elf on the Shelf” themed kits.

“An Elf on the Shelf is Santa’s helper that parents put in their house to watch over their kids and we’re making kits for each day to just do something fun for the kids,” said Zoey Chilton, MCHS 10th Grader.

“We’ve stayed after school at least three nights a week for the last three weeks, and we have a lot of fun. We’ve been playing Christmas music to get into the Christmas spirit. I played a few Thanksgiving songs too, because we didn’t want to leave Thanksgiving out, but we’ve had a lot of fun doing it,” said Strader.

It’s a fundraiser for the FCCLA organization and provides what kind of mischief the elf might get into each day, from the week after Thanksgiving all the way up to Christmas.

“We feel like this really fits into our core values of keeping the family the most important part,” added Strader.

“You know, it’s just really fun for the kids to see different things that the elf does. So, it’s really cool to see their joy,” said Chilton.

The packs are $35 for a 30-day kit, and a 15-day kit is $25.

“It’s easier to do a fundraiser when you have a passion for something, so I knew that this would be fun to do,” said Strader.

“My favorite is the bubble gum one, because it’s pieces of bubblegum and then you tape a balloon to his butt, and it says, ‘Don’t eat the bubblegum.’ To show that he, you know, it came out his butt,” said Chilton.

Fun for all with even a little twist.

“Twister? I don’t know, I think it’d be fun to see an elf do Twister,” Chilton added.

One more pick-up is scheduled for next Wednesday, so get your orders in by following this link here.

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Learning about volunteer opportunities at MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Southern students got to learn more about the many volunteer opportunities in and around Joplin, and they can thank a fellow student.

This “Service Fair” was the idea of Elizabeth Martin a Sophomore biology pre-med major from Aurora. Martin did it as an “Honors Program” service project.

A number of nonprofits were part of it, including “Jasper County Casa”, “Ronald McDonald House”, “Joplin Humane Society”, “Lafayette House”, and “Spiva Center for the Arts.”

“Volunteer work really does benefit the person that’s doing the work much less than the organization. I think that people don’t necessarily realize what benefits they’ll get from volunteer work before they actually do it. Like all these different organizations, if students get to volunteer with them, there’s plenty of benefits that they never foresaw that would happen,” said Elizabeth Martin, MSSU Student.

This was all part of what’s shaping up to be a busy week on campus.

A “Veterans Day” ceremony will take place on Friday morning on the oval at 10:50 a.m.

Saturday’s football game against Washburn is the “Military and First Responders Appreciation Game.”

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"The Lord's Diner" goes mobile with a food truck

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A Pittsburg ministry is taking its show on the road.

An anonymous donor is helping “The Lord’s Diner” with the purchase of a brand-new food truck.

They intend to use it to feed even more food-insecure residents in Southeast Kansas.

The ministry has been in operation for five years and feeds anyone that needs a meal.

In the past, site director Laura Ramsey says those in need would have to come to the diner to receive meals. Now, she says, the ministry can go to them.

“We are no longer serving out the door at this facility because we feel we wouldn’t be able to get a true reading on how many people would use the truck,” said Laura Ramsey, Lord’s Diner Site Director.

The truck will make daily stops Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m, at 707 North Broadway, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at 700 North Pine, and from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at 117 West 4th.

Weekend meals will be given out on Friday evenings from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at 700 North Pine.

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Dress-a-Lion at MSSU was a tie-dyed success

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s one of the most popular events at Missouri Southern State University.

But this semester’s version of “Stuff-a-Lion” had a different name; “Dress-a-Lion”. A way to move students through the line faster.

Hosted by the university’s “Campus Activities Board”, students only had to show their student ID before getting a lion.

It’s set up similarly to a “Build-a-Bear Workshop.” This year’s theme is tie-dyed lions.

“I think it’s awesome. I mean, it’s super cool how they do them and, I don’t know, they’re just super cool to have. I’m friends with some of the people who are from a different country, and they are all about Roary the Lion and everything,” said Josie Banes, MSSU Student.

“You know I’m sayin’, it gets cold at night, so I need me a little, need me a little cuddly teddy bear at night, you know I’m sayin’, but I think it’s really cool, I think it’s fun, you know I’m sayin’, I’m really glad they did this for us, you know, I really appreciate it,” said Calvin Clark, MSSU Student.

This is something the university gives students the chance to do every semester.

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First responders greet students at Mark Twain Elementary School

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A fun day at school for kids and first responders.

Law enforcement, fire officials, and other first responders greeted students at Mark Twain Elementary.

In return, they received notes of appreciation and drawings from the kids, along with some donuts and juice.

This event was important for both the children and the first responders.

“You know, it’s a great opportunity for kids just to have a quick interaction with the first responders. Carthage Fire, Carthage Police, and Jasper County Sheriff’s Office are here. Just a great opportunity for kids to see us in a neat environment like this,” said Randee Kaiser, Jasper County Sheriff.

“There’s a time of need where they are, a first responder may be in their life. We want to make sure that they understand that they’re a safe person, that they’re coming to help them, so that deep appreciation for community work,” said Jennifer Dillard, Mark Twain Elementary Principal.

Dillard says the kids had a lot of energy and were excited when they saw those first responders.

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"Big Pumpkin Lab" is now a tradition at Steadley Elementary

CARTHAGE, Mo. — “Gourd” news! 3rd graders at Steadley Elementary participated in their “Big Pumpkin Lab” today.

They estimated the height and weight of pumpkins, the number of ribs each one had, as well as the number of seeds inside each one, before they got inside of them.

Then they found the answers by doing the work. They physically measured, weighed, and got inside and counted.

“I just think anytime that we can get kids excited and engaged then they automatically learn more because they remember it, and it makes that impact more in their minds. So I think that’s powerful when it comes to learning,” said Lisa Morris, Third Grade Teacher, Steadley Elementary.

“My favorite part about this pumpkin challenge was actually teamwork, a lot of teamwork, and that stuff,” said Savannah Andrews, Student, Steadley Elementary.

This has become an annual tradition for 3rd grade classes.

Teachers tell us it’s a fun way to get kids involved in math and science.

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Carthage Community Foundation invests $43,000 into area non-profits

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage Community Foundation handed out financial awards to 12 local non-profit organizations and projects Thursday.

Nearly $44,000 was given to organizations that support different causes in the Carthage community. That includes $4,900 for Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri and more than $4,500 for the Carthage Crisis Center. $3,000 went to the Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri, and $2,400 to The American Legion Boys State.”

“You know they are out there every day on the frontlines helping and whether that’s with a nutritional need, whether that’s for educational, whether that’s for youth group they’re there to help every citizen and it’s very important that they have the help on the other end that they need so they can keep working,” said Stephanie Howard, President of Carthage Community Foundation.

Carthage Community Foundation will once again give back local organizations next Spring.

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"On My Own" fair helps youth achieve their goals

NEVADA, Mo. — Just because you have a disability, doesn’t mean you don’t have hopes and dreams too.

Each student has a decision to make when they finish high school, and that includes young people with disabilities.

Helping them to make that decision is the purpose of an annual event held at the Nevada Elk’s Lodge.

“We get the youth pulled from schools and inside the community to come together to provide resources and services that help these youth transition successfully,” said Kalli Gober, On My Own Inc.

The “On My Own” youth transition fair brings together students from several school districts with organizations that can help them achieve their goals.

And if they don’t know exactly what they want to do with their lives, speakers can help them hone in on an area of interest and then point them in that direction.

Dakota Ragsdale went to this same event a few years ago when he was in high school and now helps current students to chart their post high school plans.

“I learned a bunch of different things like how to advocate for myself, what sources I needed to transition into getting a job and if I wanted to go to college,” said Dakota Ragsdale, Youth Volunteer.

“There’s this one booth that helps with people who have Autism, that’s actually very useful cause like today’s society is very difficult for people with Autism to get a job,” said Zachariah Myers, High School Sophomore.

“I want to achieve my goals on going into Psychology, or Child Development, or becoming a Special Ed teacher,” said Dakota Thill, Program Participant.