BY MELANIE BUCK –
Approximately $23,000 in cash, pledges, and food donations were raised during the second annual Pulse Multi-Media Harvest of Hope Radiothon to benefit the Mena Lioness Lions Food for Kids Backpack Program. The event was held on Wednesday, November 16th, and included community partnerships with James Super Save Foods and Walmart hosting live broadcasts from their stores as well as Washburn’s Home Furnishings who donated trucks to receive the food donations. The radiothon was simulcast across KENA 104.1FM and KQOR 105.3FM. The fundraiser will remain open through December 2nd, so it’s not too late to make your annual contribution.
“This was such an incredible collaboration of our media, school officials, volunteers and our amazingly generous community who always ‘steps-up’ when there is a need,” said Pulse Multi-Media General Manager LeAnn Dilbeck. “It is such a true testament of the close-knit community in which we live and their generous nature to invest in our local children. We applaud you Polk County and sincerely thank you for your support!” Dilbeck committed Pulse Multi-Media’s continued support of this program and that the radiothon will continue to be an annual event held prior to Thanksgiving.
This is only the fourth year for the Food for Kids Backpack Program in Polk County, which services all three school districts in the county. The Mena Lioness Lions partner with the Arkansas Food Bank, who through buying in bulk, truly maximizes each dollar raised. In a very short time of raising funds and awareness within the local community for this cause, Mena is now considered a “model” community.
Through the Backpack Program, children are able to take a backpack of ‘kid-friendly, ready-to-eat or simple-to-prepare’ food home with them from school each week to give them something to eat on the weekends while away from school. Not only does it give the student food to eat, they also have food for younger siblings that have not reached school age. Most of the kids they serve get free or reduced lunches at school, but the struggle comes on the weekends, and over holiday breaks. “Most kids get really excited about breaks from school, but for the kids in our program, that’s a very troubling thought, that they’re not going to get regular food. The backpacks and meal kits fill that need,” shared Paulette Sherrer of Mena Public Schools. Duane Taylor from Cossatot River School District and Linda Heath from Ouachita River School District also joined the broadcast, sharing stories of how the program has positively impacted students at their districts.
“We were grateful to have long-time radio friend and experienced radiothon personality Sue Cavner join Mark Hobson in the studio,” said Dilbeck.
Lioness Patty Young, who chairs the Food for Kids Backpack Program for Lioness, was equally overwhelmed and thrilled with the support received. “Our community has overwhelmingly embraced our hungry children. Through their generosity these donors have positively impacted the life of a child and invested in their future. We thank everyone for their support, especially LeAnn Dilbeck, her staff at Pulse Multi-Media, and Sue Cavner. Without the commitment of these fine people we could not have raised such awareness of hunger outside our backdoor. Most importantly, we appreciate all of our donors and thank each one for their donations! We still have work to do. This one program does not solve the hunger issue facing our community and we must continue to rally for this cause year-round. We have numerous churches, local organizations, and individuals that do just that. You can continue to help through food drives or monetary donations. We invite you to help stop hunger before it stops children’s laughing and learning.”
Tax deductible contributions may be made payable to the Mena Lioness Lions and dropped off at the main location of the Union Bank of Mena or at the Pulse Multi-Media offices at 1168 Hwy 71 South.