2200 Colorado Springs kids supplied for school, thanks to Mercy Springs
Representatives from social service and family support organizations, such as Parents Matter, TESSA, the Center on Fathering and the Community Partnership for Child Development, were also present at the event. "We hope that it's a two-generation
Private Investigator Bay Tanner is hired by a young mother desperate to locate her estranged family. Joline Eastman's daughter is dying of leukemia, and all other sources for a bone-marrow transplant have been exhausted. A yellowing photograph and a handful of wartime letters are the only clues she has to offer. But it's what she's not willing to share that may hold the ultimate solution to saving her daughter's life. Meanwhile, Bay has her own family to worry about. A phone call from Lavinia Smalls, her aging father's companion and caretaker, sends her rushing to the hospital. A few, whispered words, uttered in a moment of semi-conscious confusion, shatter her world and launch Bay on a quest that will redefine everything she thought she knew about herself. Battling time, Bay and her...
Life was a little easier Saturday for Colorado Springs resident Kayla Fields-Johnson, a single mother of five, when her children received free winter coats and backpacks stuffed with school supplies at a giveaway event at a local church. Fields-Johnson's children were among the 2,200 kids served at the sixth annual Back-to-School Extravaganza, held by local nonprofit Mercy Springs at the Springs Church near Chapel Hills Mall. Free haircuts, vaccines and dental and vision screenings were also available. "This is just really helpful for the community," said Fields-Johnson. "A lot of people are single parents, low income - so for them to do this every year, it's a blessing. Mercy Springs started off donating 40 backpacks to children in need at a local school in 2009 and held its first giveaway event for about 1,500 children a year later, said Kelly Wilkerson, director of Mercy Springs and a pastor at the church. Since then, the giveaway has grown into a celebration complete with live DJs from the church, bouncy houses, popcorn, cotton candy and roughly $68,000 worth of school supplies and winter coats donated by Mercy Springs' parent organization World... "We try to make it fun and help people feel like they have dignity - that they're not just here and being embarrassed or put down because of their situation," Wilkerson said. "It's excellent services and people don't have the stress or the burden of trying to figure out how to pay for it, how to make it all work, how to give their children, whom they love, the best they possibly can. Mercy Springs partners with the El Paso County Department of Human Services to determine who is most in need. When families register for services such as Medicaid, food assistance or low-income child care, they're given the opportunity to sign up for the event, said Rebecca Jacobs, director of employment and family support services at the department. Representatives from social service and family support organizations, such as Parents Matter, TESSA, the Center on Fathering and the Community Partnership for Child Development, were also present at the event. "We hope that it's a two-generation process that we are able to help families become self-sufficient by encouraging good health," Jacobs said. Sponsors offering free services at the event included El Paso County Public Health, Paul Mitchell the School of Colorado Springs and Academy Kids Vision and Dental. "This is a family of six kids, ages 21 to 6, so every little bit helps," said Colorado Springs resident Jackie Lightfoot, who brought five of her children to the event. The event, open to registered families at 9 a. m. and walk-ins at 1 p. m. , was staffed by well over 100 volunteers from Mercy Springs and other sponsor organizations. "Families really struggle just to make it to Friday," said Sherri Heitz, a church volunteer who helped organize the giveaway. "It's great they can come here and get some basic needs taken care of at no expense and have some fun while they're at it. ". In the parking lot outside of the church, Angela Aguilar's 12-year-old daughter Korrina, who had just finished... "My husband was laid off a week ago, so it's just been real, real hard," said Aguilar, who also has a 13-year-old son. "It's been big help to us. And they're having a blast.
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Texas Severe Storms Association, TESSA, supporting severe weather research and education since 1993.
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