Community Foundation provides amusements for children

A student in Muscatine County receiving drawing supplies from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.

MUSCATINE, Iowa–With children across Muscatine County receiving free lunches, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine knew that their needs extended past nutritious meals. “We had been discussing, with United Way and AIM officials, the needs of the 1200 children in our county receiving free school lunches during this time, and decided that it might be beneficial to get books into the hands of the children,” shared Community Foundation Executive Director Charla Schafer. “What we found was that Musser Public Library and school PTO’s were working in this area.”

After discovering that several community partners had already taken steps to provide books to students receiving lunches, the Community Foundation began looking for other ways they could help. “We then talked to teachers and asked what they thought would be beneficial for the children and suggestions were around art supplies and games that could be played individually or together,” said Schafer. “There are so many kids experiencing stress over concerns regarding the virus, the disruption in their routines, separation from their friends and teachers, we felt it was right to provide a bit of a break by encouraging their creativity to flow or games to engage in.”

Finding that food service providers had hoped to give students supplies to occupy themselves at home, the Community Foundation partnered with them to provide their items during meal pickup. “When we reached out to Muscatine Schools Food Service they too had been discussing trying to distribute some supplies to the children,” expanded Schafer. The Community Foundation started their donations by giving free spiral bound notebooks and boxes of crayons to the students who came to the Muscatine, West Liberty, and Wilton meal sites. The following week, they passed out decks of playing cards, along with a list of games kids can play with them. They also plan to give away CountFast cards, donated by one of the CountFast company’s founders, Muscatine native Dan Stein. “These math cards are both entertaining and educational for the children,” shared Schafer.”

As the Community Foundation’s donations reach children across the county, Schafer feels glad that the Community Foundation has found one more way to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are pleased to be able to collaboratively provide supplies and games to the children in our county receiving lunches and hope that it brings both a little fun, creativity, and learning to their days.”