Massive contribution will help feed students
(Left to right) Gower Masonic Secretary Andy Phipps presents East Buchanan’s Mrs. Jenni Busby with the donation check last week totaling $19,000 for Bulldog Buddies, joined by Worshipful Master Lonnie Spence and Junior Deacon Zack Craft.
A spaghetti dinner accepting free will donations held by a local, civic-minded group has resulted in a very generous donation to help feed and clothe children in the Gower area.
The Gower Masonic Lodge held the dinner, carry-out only, on January 16. Through their efforts and the generosity of the community and area residents, they raised $9,500 through free-will donations. This amount was then matched by the Masonic Home of Missouri, and the total of $19,000 was presented to Jenni Busby, East Buchanan Elementary counselor, on Wednesday, March 24.
“I’m just overwhelmed and thrilled by the support, the generosity of our community, area and all those that made this effort so successful,” Busby said. “The need is here, and this organization and community have made this happen.”
According to Busby, there are 64 children that receive Bulldog Buddies packs weekly, and this donation to the program will help offset the costs for quite some time. Each Friday, the 64 kids receive 8 to 10 food itmes for lunches and dinners, as well as snacks, for the weekend.
“Bulldog Buddies is no longer a part of Second Harvest Backpack Buddies program and receives no food supplies from Second Harvest. Family members and others go shopping with me at least once monthly and we purchase the necessary items to supply the program. No East Buchanan Funds or other taxpayer dollars are used for this local program, which is a 501-3C,” Busby said.
Masonic Junior Deacon Zack Craft, Masonic Secretary Andy Phipps, and Worshipful Master Lonnie Spencer presented a check to Mrs. Busby at the elementary school last Wednesday.
The Masons also conducted a coat drive and collected over 500 child- and adult-sized coats. Mrs. Busby had accepted the children’s coats earlier and distributed them to children in the district that were in need. The adult coats, approximately 250, were given to Girl Scout Troop #4189 in Plattsburg, who also distributed them to those in need.
Both Phipps and Spencer gave credit to Craft as the driving force and organizer of the dinner and coat drive. However, Zack was quick to say that the entire lodge and community made this project successful.
“We had one woman from the Kansas City area that wrote a check for $250 for one meal. which was carry-out only. I was surprised when I started to put the check up and saw the amount,” Craft said.
“The Gower Masonic Lodge will be doing this fundraiser again in the future as the need rises, and with the matching contribution of the Masonic Home, we hope to continue to help fund this vital program for those children in the district that continue to need,” Craft continued.
All items necessary for the dinner were donated. The spaghetti was donated by Spaghetti Factory in Excelsior Springs, a Kansas City restaurant donated the spaghetti sauce, Schwartz Farms and Meier Farms donated the meat, Simple Simon’s Pizza donated the salads, and Masonic members donated all the other condiments and other items necessary to make this a success. The East Buchanan Booster Club and Elementary PTO all donated, as well as the Gower Baptist Church, Gower Christian Church, and Hixson-Klein Funeral Home.
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