Gainesville YEP chapter begins 10th year of community service and philanthropy

<p class="p1">Members of Gainesville R-V School’s Youth Empowerment Program chapter started its 10th year of community service with a new project this summer – making “comfort packs.”</p><p class="p3">“We called them comfort packs as they are intended to bring comfort to kids who are taken into state custody,” said Michelle Pointer, chapter adviser and mentor. “The packs will provide them with some practical hygiene items (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.), but they also include some fun items like coloring books, crayons, reading books, stuffed animals and a blanket.”</p><p class="p3">YEP members made 15 comfort packs: five for ages 2-7; five for girls 8 and up; and five for boys 8 and up. Each pack has items with the gender and age in mind, Pointer said.</p><p class="p3">In addition to the comfort packs, YEP members will begin their backpack program within a few days. The program, now in its 10th year, serves approximately 30 children a week by providing each student with a backpack full of food and snacks to take home over the weekend.</p><p class="p3">“Another project we did right before school started was to make sure that every classroom in the high school and elementary has a receptacle to recycle paper and magazines,” Pointer said.</p><p class="p3">The core purpose of the Youth Empowerment Pro-gram is to empower young people to improve their lives and the lives of others. The program received a grant from Community Foundation of the Ozarks in the beginning, but now it runs completely from donations from individuals, businesses and organizations. </p><p class="p3">To make a donation to help these local youth make a difference in their lives and the community, contact Michelle Pointer, 417/372-1980, or mail a check to Gainesville YEP, c/o Gainesville High School, 422 Bulldog Drive, Gainesville, MO 65655.</p>

<p class="p1">Ryan Poe, Ashley Poe and Olivia Milligan display some of the items included in the packs. At right, Ezzy McFall and Abigail Milligan sort books by age category for the comfort packs.</p>

<p>Gainesville Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) members spent part of their summer break putting together “comfort packs” for children who are placed into state custody. Above, </p>

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