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Special delivery: Key Club project benefits local newborns

by CAROLYN HIDY
Lake County Leader | February 17, 2022 12:55 AM

Polson High School Key Club members have learned that donating funds is a great way to help your community. They also learned there’s more you can do.

Throughout the school year, the Key Club raises funds to help meet community needs. Through Halloween candy sales, sponsoring the Spree formal dance and other means, they recently were able to donate $330 to the nonprofit Helping Hands of Mission Valley for their ongoing Community Cradle project, which provides baby supplies and bassinet boxes for every baby born at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

Key Club president Brookelyn Slonaker said the group realized that someone would still need to find and purchase all the items for the boxes and assemble the packages. So they did that, too.

“It’s one thing to raise money and donate it. It’s another thing to then volunteer and see where that money is going,” Slonaker said. “It really engaged our members.”

Key Club advisor Karen Dhuyvetter said the group purchased many of the supplies at Walmart in Polson and ordered special nightgowns online. The packages included onesies, diapers, blankets, hand-knit hats from community donors, a gift card and a certificate for a free postpartum checkup. They assembled 13 full packages, and all extra supplies were left with Jennifer Rolfsness at Helping Hands for future boxes.

“We also need to thank the students of Polson High School that supported our fundraising activities,” Dhuyvetter said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have raised the money.”

Slonaker and Dhuyvetter agreed that putting the boxes together was a lot of fun. Each Key Club member who was available helped shop and assemble their own box or boxes, many with a theme. Both boys and girls got into the spirit. There were pastels, bright colors and even a Mickey Mouse box and a yellow bee-themed one.

Key Clubs throughout the world are affiliated with Kiwanis, an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, “one community at a time.” Kiwanis Club of Polson and the PHS Key Club work as partners, helping each other with their undertakings. Kiwanis sponsor scholarships and the Montana District Key Club convention and leadership conference, and purchased the candy and supplies for the Key Club’s fundraising sales. Key Club members recently volunteered at the Kiwanis’ Burgerfest at the Elks Club to help raise funds for Kiwanis projects and youth programs.

Helping Hands of the Mission Valley “assists individuals with food, transportation, personal care items, community cradles, resource referrals and many more items on an at-need basis,” according to its website, helpinghandsofmissionvalley.org.

photo

Achilles Maroney is among the Polson High School Key Club members who raised funds, then purchased and assembled bassinets and supplies for newborn babies at St. Joseph Medical Center. (Courtesy Jennifer Rolfsness)

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