Students help Families in Crisis

William Hall, operations director for Killeen Families in Crisis, gives East Ward Elementary School fifth-graders a hand Friday with a service project. The Killeen Heights Rotary Club provided household items for 22 kits going to families transitioning into independent living. Students and Rotarians worked alongside FIC staff to complete the project.

A school, a community group and a nonprofit organization put hands and feet together Friday to assist families in need of a fresh start.

The Killeen Heights Rotary Club completed a grant-funded service project, filling 22 move-in starter kits to benefit clients of Killeen’s Families in Crisis.

Rotarians and Families in Crisis staff spent a chunk of the morning at East Ward Elementary School in Killeen, where fifth-grade Peer Leadership Group members pitched in to help.

Principal Hilda Arnold, a Rotarian, wanted her students to get a taste of service and arranged to host the effort to fill boxes with kitchen towels, shower curtains, a coffee pot, can opener, blender and other necessities.

Fifth-graders worked hand-and-hand with community leaders, placing household items in boxes for shipment and eventual distribution.

Suzanne Armour, program director for Families in Crisis, said the organization’s clientele are mainly women and children forced to leave abusive living situations.

Some of those families take up temporary residence in Killeen’s 65-bed Families in Crisis shelter. There’s also a 15-bed facility in Temple.

Whether staying in a shelter or other transitional housing, the families face a great challenge to start over. The kits are meant to ease the transition.

“We call these starting over kits,” said Armour, explaining the Rotarian project was an ideal situation that provided new products for 22 kits.

“This gives our clients one less thing to worry about,” she said, noting that the Rotary Club was an ongoing supporter that provides specific items the nonprofit group can’t normally acquire through grants.

“We will go through it quickly,” she noted.

For Arnold, the project provided an opportunity to give back to a community she said is generous to East Ward.

“I wanted our kids to be involved,” Arnold said. “I wanted them to do for others just as so many do for us. We wanted to do for our community.”

She said she noticed students working with adult volunteers as a team, organizing the process and exercising courtesy.

“The Rotarians are good role models for our kids,” the principal said. “Hopefully, these students will grow up and want to serve their community, too.”

To assist or serve as a volunteer for Families in Crisis, call (254) 634-1184.

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