A small group of seniors who help low income children from 84 area schools are now in need of some help themselves. The energetic volunteers who organize and plan Catholic Charities’ Project SHAKE (Seniors Helping All Kids’ Education), have worked in a building supplied rent-free by Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pasco for over six years. They started out using two rooms, and the effort has grown so much that they currently use seven rooms. But now, the building needs a new furnace and electrical upgrades; and, with little to no heat, the working conditions are intolerable during the cold winter months.
The goal of the group, which has been serving area children for 23 years, is to raise $12,000 to update electrical work and make it a safe and comfortable work environment.
Dee Davidson, Catholic Charities’ Senior Corps Manager, hopes to raise the funds so they can continue to use the building, which has been an optimal arrangement for their outreach efforts.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Emmanuel Baptist Church, they have provided S.H.A.K.E. with the much needed storage and work space for over six years, free of charge. Without their generosity, I’m not sure SHAKE could continue to thrive and grow as it has,” she said.
The SHAKE volunteers collect school supplies for low income children in Benton and Franklin counties. Distribution of the school supplies is based upon the amount of free/reduced lunches at each school.
SHAKE is sponsored by the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), a program of Catholic Charities. The RSVP program connects individuals over the age of 55 with volunteer opportunities where there is a need in the community. Each year the volunteers collect, count, organize, box and deliver supplies. This year alone, they delivered 1528 boxes. While the main push to gather and distribute is done in July and August, the program runs year round with supply distribution twice each year, once in August and again in January.
Schools in the area have come to rely upon the efforts of SHAKE. Children living in poverty often come to school without supplies. The boxes of packaged school supplies gathered by these volunteers are distributed as needed to children to ensure that their educational success is not affected by lacking these resources. Having supplies on hand before the first day also relieves the burden on the teachers, who often end up purchasing supplies out of their own pocket.
Those who wish to make a donation to the SHAKE fundraising effort can contact Dee Davidson at 509.965.7100 for more information. Any donations received that exceed the repair costs will be used to purchase school supplies.