Lighting a path for the needy
By Kevin Dye
As preparations are under way to decorate Garrette Park with 300,000 lights and provide a fun place to enjoy a holiday weekend, another project is comencing to augment those decorations and at the same time help those individuals who are most vulnerable in the community, children.
West Jefferson resident Tracy Kronk is the head of a project to provide luminaries to line Main Street in the village. The luminaries will create a lighted path for visitors heading to Garrette Park for Christmas in the Park.
For a donation, folks can purchase a luminary for Saturday, December 8. The funds from luminaries will go toward a program that Kronk created to help feed children who may be heading home each day after school with the prospect of not having a dinner when they arrive home.
Kronk said that she was alerted to the problem of kids not eating at home when she was working as a volunteer at Norwood Elementary. She said the revelation shook her to her core.
“I was volunteering at my kid’s school a year ago and a little boy and I were kidding about an upcoming break from school for a couple of days,” Kronk said. “He said to me that he could not wait to come back to school because he was hungry and doesn’t always get to eat on the weekend at home. It brought tears to my eyes to hear this young boy’s story.’
Kronk took action and she created a group called Sufficient Grace for Norwood Elementary. A group of volunteers feed close to two dozen children that face the prospect of not having a meal when they go home after school. As hard as it may be to believe that this is going on in the community, the group makes sure kids have food items to take home with them after school. The volunteers have even continued the project in the summer when there is no school.
“This started thanks to the help of the Good Samaritan’s Food Pantry in West Jefferson,” Kronk said. “We delivered food this summer, things like milk, bread, cereal, things that are too heavy for the kids to carry home. I have a great group of volunteers including Ada Gardner, Gene Keel, Joan Denes, Judy Harris and Carrie Dado. They help me on Monday and Friday when we make up the packages.”
The luminaries can be purchased for $3 each or two for $5 and every bit of money that is make from the project will go to feed children at Norwood who are assisted by the Sufficient Grace program. Kronk said that the group is currently getting help from London attorney Tim Stonecipher so they can become a 501C3 organization and gain greater funding from businesses as a non-profit organization.
Norwood Principal Gary Bell said the program is very much needed for those students who are in that unfortunate situation.
“Tracy started the program a year ago and they help provide food for those kids in need,” Bell said. “It’s just a shame that kids aren’t getting what they need to eat at home. The fact is that we have one of the highest rates of kids in and out of school, enrolling and un-enrolling in our school, 12 percent.”
Kronk hopes that the West Jefferson community get behind the luminary project and help to assist the group with providing kids with a good meal.
“We want to have the luminaries to line Main Street for the parade on Saturday, December 8,” Kronk said. “It’s not just these people that need help, it could be anyone. If my husband lost his job I could be one of the ones who need help. This can happen to anyone.”
Anyone who would like to purchase a luminary and help the Sufficient Grace project, you can contact Tracy Kronk at email@example.com or by phone at 614-208-0955. You will not only be bringing light to West Jefferson for the holiday festival, but the light of hope to the children of the village at the same time.