Underserved children in the Neosho community will be better served through two large donations presented Wednesday at the Freeman Family YMCA.

Just hours after Tyson Foods contributed $25,000 to the Neosho R-5 Bright Futures Weekend Backpack Program, officials from Jarden Consumer Solutions were at the ‘Y’ to present a check for $8,000, with a big portion of that also going to the Weekend Backpack program.

Justin Stewart, YMCA associate executive director, explained that Bright Futures approached Jarden about donating to their cause in April, but the corporation was unable to fill the request. He said the YMCA then partnered with the Bright Futures Backpack program to apply for a grant from Jarden.

“Jarden was really excited about that because they wanted to help out Bright Futures but they weren’t able to, but they can help out the ‘Y,” Stewart said. “So, we did a presentation for Jarden and Jarden approached their corporate and said, ‘Look we really need this. Neosho really needs this.’ And they awarded us an $8,000 grant.”

He said $5,000 will go to the Weekend Backpack program, and the remaining $3,000 will be used for the YMCA’s annual campaign to help with the scholarship program.
Stewart noted that the scholarship program is income-based.

“There’s a lot of people in this area who may not be able to afford a membership or even child care,” he said. “They will come to the YMCA and apply for a scholarship; and through our annual campaign we are able to supplement that need to help them afford to send their kid to pre-school or day camp, or even have a membership.”

Stewart estimated that about 250 families are assisted each year by the scholarship program, a value of over $100,000.

“Mainly the child care; we see a lot of need for the child care and that’s what the majority of this grant is going to,” he said.


Stewart asserted that 100 percent of the grant from Jarden Consumer Solutions will benefit the kids of the community.

“There’s a huge need,” he said. “If they want a quality program such as the ‘Y’, they are going to need help to afford it. That’s what the program is doing, we’re trying to help these families get into the ‘Y’ and get into a quality child care program.”

Stewart advised that the YMCA is always open to donations to their annual campaign, and added that they will also accept donations for Bright Futures.

“We’ll get it to the right place,” he promised.