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150 meals donated to families with flair

Throughout December, the Pine River Area Food Shelf and Pine River-Backus Elementary School worked to brighten the lives of those who needed a little help.

Travis Grimler/Echo Journal MIchelle Williams, volunteer at the Pine River Area Food Shelf, holds up just two of the 150 bagged Christmas meals donated to families in December. Pine River-Backus art teacher Heidi Envall coordinated decoration of the bags by elementary school students.
Travis Grimler/Echo Journal MIchelle Williams, volunteer at the Pine River Area Food Shelf, holds up just two of the 150 bagged Christmas meals donated to families in December. Pine River-Backus art teacher Heidi Envall coordinated decoration of the bags by elementary school students.

Throughout December, the Pine River Area Food Shelf and Pine River-Backus Elementary School worked to brighten the lives of those who needed a little help.

The food shelf filled 150 bags with meals for local families, but not until local elementary school students had decorated those bags.

"(We) brought them to the school and asked if they could dress them up so the Christmas meals would have a little decoration with them and would share in the children's joy with the meal," said Kathleen Stephan, a volunteer with the Pine River-Backus Family Center. "That's why we had it done this way. The children are participating in helping somebody else and thinking of someone else. I thought it was a win-win."

Food deliveries started at the beginning of December and continued until the last day of the month. Bags contained pork roasts, vegetables, fruits and other holiday fare for a full meal.

"This is the first time we've ever had the kids involved," Stephan said. "The more we can network with the school and the community, the better it is for everybody. We are all working to build a stronger community and they are learning a little altruism."

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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