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Dance fundraiser to help kids

GROVES — The Knights of Columbus and some Port Neches-Groves ISD personnel are calling attention to hungry children in the district and offering the public a means to do something about it.

The KC Councils in Groves and the KC Council in Port Neches are holding a fundraiser with a dance from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Jefferson County Singles’ Club, 7601 Green Ave. in Nederland. Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois, Ken Marvel, Gene Terry and Parker James will be performing. Tickets cost $15 each.

Bob Fore, Grand Knight of the Port Neches Council, said the dance is their biggest fundraiser for the year to generate income and support The Backpack Buddy Program.

The Backpack Buddy Program has been in operation in the Port Neches-Groves ISD since 2013 after some teachers started it off. The program started nationally in Durham, N.C.

They currently go to Taft Elementary, Groves Elementary, Port Neches Elementary, Port Neches Middle School and Woodcrest Elementary.

Fore said they got income for the program since Knight David Miles approached several businesses for donations.

“He didn’t take no for an answer,” Fore said.

There will be items for a silent auction. There will also be a display showing students getting the backpacks.

“Our finances are stretched and this dance will really help out. If we get 400 to attend, that will fund every kid at every school.

The cost for an elementary school student is $170 per year. The cost is $190 for a middle school student. The first year of the program they funded 52 students. The second year had 72. Now there are more than 100 students who need assistance.

“This goes to local needs,” he said. “We found out teachers are paying out of pocket for the food and we knew we had to do something.”

He explained the government funds food for indigent children during the weekday hours. From Friday evening through Sunday they are not looked after.

“They may be a one-parent family,” Fore, said. “We fill the backpack with food on Friday and they bring it back empty on Monday and go through the cycle. We do this in conjunction with the Food Bank of Southeast Texas.”

The school nurse or school counselor determines the need of the student and contacts the Knights of Columbus.

Jerry Latiolais, program director for the Groves KCs, said they have received good, local support.

“What can be more worthy than funding local kids?” he asked. “I didn’t think we had needy kids in our school district, but we have a lot of them.”

“Some people recently were living in the lot behind West End Hardware (on Twin City Highway).

For more information about the fundraiser, call either 409-626-2076 or 409-626-2676, or by email at bob217@gt.rr.com.

David Ball: 409-721-2427