Click the link above for the full Southwest Times Record article, with information on each charity.
The contest came about as owners Buford and Kim Martin decided to get the community involved by opening up nominations and votes for charities. The first vote was free, while additional votes could be purchased, with that money also going to the charities.
The “Out of this World” Kindness Giveaway grew from one of Martin’s core values.
“An Out of this World Experience is what we provide,” Beth Corey said. “Our whole goal is to be out of this world in everything we do, so we want to go above and beyond.”
Children’s Service League won first place and will receive $1,000 and additional donations. Children’s Service League began in late 1930 as the Young Matron’s Auxiliary and has been thriving since, taking its current name in 1932.
“We are a fully nonprofit, all-volunteer-run organization dedicated to providing clothes to needy children in the Fort Smith school district,” said Kimberly Swaim, Children’s Service League president. “We clothe them from head to toe for both winter and summer seasons to make sure they have adequate clothing. We clothe 450 to 500 kids per year.”
The League has rooms at the Parker Center so students can be taken there to “shop” as if it were a department store, rather than just being handed a bag of clothing.
“We pick the children up from school, get them fitted for clothes, and then return them to school,” Swaim said. “We only do it during the school year, and we get parents’ permission.”
The Children’s Service League operates primarily through word of mouth with around 30 volunteers. Additionally, the league has worked with the Steel Horse Rally the past few years.
“We know what it’s like if you stand out,” Swaim said. “I’m not saying they have to have great brands to fit in, but some children have clothes that don’t even fit properly. One child told me he was wearing pants 10 sizes too big with a belt. I want them to feel seen, needed, and loved.”
The money provided by Martin’s will go to buy shoes, socks, underwear, hygiene products and sizes that go quickly, which are generally for elementary-age students.
Community Rescue Mission placed second and won $500 and additional donations. Community Rescue Mission is a homeless shelter that focuses on families. It currently has eight rooms available. The facility is currently under renovation and should be back to full capacity by October.
“Our mission is to instill power in the families that we serve,” said Heather Sanders, executive director, “so that we can help them visualize a better future for their families.”
Community Rescue Mission is a faith-based nonprofit that has been around for almost 39 years. The nonprofit does not receive any government money, relying only on contributions. According to Sanders, the Mission is always looking for volunteers.
“The money we received is going to be used for summer activities for our children,” Sanders said. “The Boys and Girls Club have partnered with us to allow our children to visit them for the summer. They have wonderful outings every week, but we do have to pay for those.”
Tacos 4 Life will hold a fundraiser for Community Rescue Mission from 5-9 p.m. June 18 at its location at 4501 Phoenix Ave. in Fort Smith.
1st Choice Pregnancy Medical Center placed third and will receive $250 and additional donations.
According to Executive Director Pam Rhodes, the center has had nearly 20,000 visits since 1990. The center offers free and confidential sexual health services, including limited ultrasounds, STD services for men and women, education, referrals and support services. Its goals include educating families, equipping them for an abundant life, and eternally impacting each soul.
The center will use the prize money to print service cards for University of Arkansas at Fort Smith students, providing information about free services available within two blocks of the campus.
The center has a Baby Bottle campaign underway through June 30. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for participation information.
Martin’s Heating & Air wants to say thank you to all that participated in the “Out of this World” Kindness contest for giving awareness to our local charities.