A pair of shoes, a pair of pants or some socks could mean the world to someone in high school or any school student.
The Rolla based nonprofit organization G.R.A.C.E., which stands for Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprise, works with community resources to evaluate emergency needs of individuals and families in Phelps County.
G.R.A.C.E. for Kids is one of several programs offered by the organization for school-age children and families in need. The faith-based group’s programs care for those living in the Phelps County area who need emergency assistance.
“We have seen kids who are wearing shoes that are in such bad condition they are falling apart and some have almost no soles,” said Rolla High School principal Jim Pritchett. “Shoes are a big deal. T-shirts are easy to find, but pants are also a huge issue. Kids wear them out or the pants get ripped and they have no others.”
Pritchett explained that these are needs that need a quick response and G.R.A.C.E. provides that quick turn-around for these emergencies.
“It’s a great partnership and a huge plus for us. We see a need and give them a call,” he said. “What a tremendous resource for us and our community.”
Observing some children coming to school in flip flops in the dead of winter, teachers reach out to G.R.A.C.E. for assistance.
“We know some teachers are buying these necessities themselves,” said G.R.A.C.E. Executive Director Tina Davis. “We can help with that.”
The G.R.A.C.E. for Kids program, which includes grades Pre-K through 12, works directly with the schools and the assistance is entirely anonymous. We might receive a call from a teacher, school nurse or counselor who sees a child without a basic need, such as shoes, socks, backpacks, clothing and can call us for help,” said Davis.
G.R.A.C.E. participated again this year in the annual Phelps County Back-to-School Fair giving away five pairs of socks to each child attending. The Back-to-School Fair is attended by 550-700 youngsters.
The organization is best known for its G.R.A.C.E. for Christmas program, but actually it lends a hand in many emergency needs, such as emergency help with rent, electric, food, hygiene items, etc. throughout the year.
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