Online resource hub created to help families in need


By AJ Fahr aj@bransontrilakesnews.com
Skaggs Foundation awarded Hollister School District a three-year, $40,000 grant in late 2021 to create an online, searchable database of resources for Stone and Taney counties. The website, ResourcestotheRescue.org, launched in May.
A new source is available to help Stone and Taney County residents find resources before times of crisis. The Resource to the Rescue is a search able database, which was funded by the Skaggs Foundation, was the brainchild of Hollister Middle School Counselor Sandy Brown. The idea came to Brown when she couldn’t find an online search able database of local resources to use to help families in her district. She decided she’d take on the project herself. Just six months after receiving funding from Skaggs Foundation, the website went live, according to a press release from the Skaggs Foundation.
The website offers a resource hub for the area, according to the Resources to the Rescue website. The database offers a place for the community to easily navigate to find the help they need. “The Resources to the Rescue website stems from counselors, social workers, and other staff dreaming of an updated and maintained resource hub for our community,” Brown explained. “Many community members would begin looking for resources and the roadblocks were too overwhelming for them to continue their search. This leads to community members finding themselves in crisis.” Brown said as a school counselor, she sees families reach out for help when they are in “crisis mode.” Brown could spend hours trying to find resources to aid with everything from electric bills, rent and car repairs. She said she knew there had to be a better way, but it was going to take a lot of work.

In the spring of 2021, Brown presented the idea of a search able resource website to the Skaggs Foundation. The idea quickly evolved from helping just Hollister families to creating a database to help families and individuals throughout Stone and Taney counties, stated the release. In late 2021, Brown was awarded a three-year, $40,000 Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant to create the website. Brown brought in a team, which included a social work intern and the Hollister School District’s counseling team, to gather the information of local organizations and resources for the hub and the website built this past school year. The site went live in late May and the team is now focused on maintaining and keeping the site up-to-date. “Not only do we want to provide resources, but we also want to empower our community members to obtain these resources before they reach crisis mode,” she said. “Our hope and mission is that the Resources to the Rescue website will serve as a tool for not only the community but for organizations, agencies, service providers, schools, religious organizations, hospitals and more.” According to the website, the Resources to the Rescue team hopes to give an equal opportunity for all to have access to the information about resources available to them. “Our team realized how necessary it was for our community to have a go-to and maintained resource website,” stated the website. “Our team is actively working to strengthen the community by providing equal access to resources to promote equal opportunities and outcomes.” The website lists resources available to the area for the following needs.

  • Affordable Health Care
  • Clothing
  • Crisis
  • Family Support
  • Food
  • Mental Health
  • Personal Development
    According to the website, if an agency, organization, or service provider in Stone and Taney counties would like to join Resources to the Rescue’s website, they must fill out a questionnaire found on the website. A Resources to the Rescue team member will review the information provided in the questionnaire and then will be in contact with the agency to answer questions and finalize the information provided before publishing it on the website. There is no cost to join the hub. “Being a part of the Resources to the Rescue website will bring awareness to the services and resources your organization or agency may provide and assist those in need,” states the website. “Resources to the Rescue is a go-to resource hub that is regularly updated to best serve the needs of
    our community.” Ozark Mountain Country Cares Communications Director Susan Flores said she is grateful for Brown and the team for stepping up to take on such an important project. She said the site will not only be a great resource for families, but also help local entities understand what other organizations are doing in the community and make referrals. The site is user friendly, easy to navigate and has an online form for organizations to be able quickly and easily update their information. “Everyone in our community will be able to benefit tremendously from Resources to the Rescue,” Flores said. “For the family needing assistance, it
    will be a great place to start to access resources they need. Thank you, Hollister Schools, for initiating this much needed resource.”
    To learn more about the Resources to the Rescue project, visit Resourcestotherescue.org.
    To learn more about Skaggs Foundation and Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant opportunities, visit SkaggsFoundation.org

 

National Mom’s group moves headquarters to Branson

An excerpt from an article by Jason Wert -Branson Tri-lakes News

An organization who mobilizes moms in the political arena has announced they are moving their national headquarters to Branson.

Moms for America announced the move at a public gathering on Saturday, May 14. The organization’s President, Kimberly Fletcher, said not only was the organization’s headquarters moving to Branson but she and her entire family would also be moving to the Ozarks. “Everyone asks me why we picked Branson and I answer that God actually picked it for us, ” Fletcher said at the event. “Once I got here, it was very clear to my why it’s Branson. I had always heard about the people and the community, then I visited last winter and saw that even the Christmas decorations are patriotic:! It’s a place where they love God, they respect family, they love freedom and every single show has a tribute to the military! This is absolutely where we want to be.

Moms For America is a grassroots organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 2004. The organization describes themselves as a “national movement of moms reclaiming our culture for truth, family, freedom, and the Constitution.” They strive to empower moms, promote liberty, and raise patriots.”

“Moms are out there doing it effectively,” Fletcher said. “They’re hosting local and national political events, they’re running for office, they’re starting private schools, they’re hosting book clubs to get moms together. The coolest thing is that they’re all taking on things that matter most to them. They find what they’re passionate about and then we empower them to go out and get things done.”

The JATC Gives Back to Area Teachers

The JATC gives back to area teachers
The Junior Auxiliary of Taney County decided to celebrate National Junior Auxiliaries Week by doing something special for area teachers.
National JA Week was April 3 through 9. The JATC gave out baskets of snacks to Taney County schools to place in their teacher’s workrooms.
“Teachers share our mission and by caring today we (can) build character for tomorrow,” stated a press release from the JATC. “Our slogan “Caring Hearts—Helping H a n d s — C h a n g i n g Lives” is shared by teachers in our community and illustrated daily.” The JATC delivered 21 baskets of snacks to Bradleyville, Branson, Forsyth, Hollister, Kirbyville, Mark Twain, and Taneyville School Districts.
The JATC, a nonprofit organization, was chartered by a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney
County. Members are encouraged to render charitable services, which are beneficial to the general public, with particular emphasis on children.
The JATC projects are designed to fulfill the virtues of charity, youth, health, community service, and leadership in members and those we serve,
according to their website.

C of O named No. 1 Christian college

By AJ Fahr  aj@bransontrilakesnews.com

College of the Ozarks has been ranked No. 1 in the 2022 Best Christian Colleges and Universities list compiled by College Consensus.
College Consensus is a unique college ranking and review aggregator combining top publisher rankings and student reviews, according to a press release from C of O. The college also ranked as the No. 9 Best Colleges and Universities in the Midwest, No. 14 Best Small Colleges, and No. 33 Best Private Colleges
& Universities.
According to College Consensus, “Small and large, Christian colleges run the gamut, including schools rooted in the liberal arts, universities focused on research and professional education, and colleges dedicated to building an ethical, service-oriented workforce.”  “College of the Ozarks is a unique institution,
where students work for their education, graduating debt-free,” Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman said. “The college appreciates earning recognition from College Consensus, especially since it reflects the hard work of faculty, staff, and students at Hard Work U.”
According to their website, by combining the results of the most reputable college ranking publishers and thousands of real student reviews from around
the web, College Consensus provides a comprehensive ranking of a school’s reputation and quality.
To view the 2022 ranking, visit www.collegeconsensus.com/rankings/best-christian-colleges/.

Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast Thursday

By Jason Wert
jason@bransontrilakesnews.com

Hundreds of Christians from around the region will gather together Thursday morning, May 5, at the Branson Convention Center for the 21st Annual Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast. The event is being held in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer. The event will open with a breakfast at 6
a.m., followed by a program which will include inspirational singing, an award presentation, and a keynote address from Silver StarRecipient and Vietnam Veteran Captain Allen B. Clark.

The Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by the Branson Christian Business Men’s Committee. The group is a “movement of men dedicated to prayer while sharing the gospel and hope of Jesus Christ.” The group first formed in 1993 under the leadership of Don Gabriel. The group met for almost seven years before hosting the first Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast in 2001. The event began with about 250 in attendance and now regularly draws over 1,200.
Keynote speaker Clark is a West Point graduate who served in Vietnam as a Military Intelligence Officer who worked undercover operations against Cambodia. He suffered horrific injuries to both legs which required amputation below the knees. In his time in combat, Clark earned a Silver Star, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. After leaving the military, he served his nation as a special assistant to Texas Governor Bill Clements from 1979 to 1981, and served in two positions in the President George H.W. Bush administration, first as assistant secretary for Veterans Liaison and Program Coordinator, and then as director of the National Cemetery System of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The annual Don & Dorothy Gabriel Kingdom Builder award will also be given to someone who “contributes to the quality of the community by demonstrating in word and action a dedication and dynamic Christian life.” The award is for someone who “puts others ahead of self” and “lives
by Christian vision and mission.” The 2021 winner of the award was Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin.
More information about the breakfast can be found on their website, ozarkmountainprayerbreakfast.com.

A ‘Legacy of Love” Quilt collection at C of O

‘A Legacy of Love’ quilt collection at C of O . The Ralph Foster Museum on the campus of College of the Ozarks has  a new quilt display.

The College of the Ozarks “A Legacy of Love” Quilting Collection went on display in the museum beginning Saturday, March 19, according to a press release from C of O. The collection was inspired by award-winning author and quilt historian Judy Howard’s quilt donation to the College in 2020, states the release.
The collection seeks to highlight an artform, which C of O says has seen interest waning in recent years. All the quilts and quilt tops have been acquired
by the museum by donations from estates, several of which were from the Midwest region of the United States. “The exhibit will feature quilts chosen from
the museum archives,” Director of Retail Operations at Ralph Foster Museum Kiley Hutcheson said. “(We) will display quilts of varying patterns
and stitch constructs, antique sewing machines, as well as historical recollections.”

The quilts in the exhibit are not available for purchase but the school does have other quilts which can be purchased online at www.store.cofo.edu or at The Keeter Center. For more information visit www.rfostermuseum.com or contact the museum at 417-690- 3407.

TangerKIDS Grants open for applications

By AJ Meakins
ajmeakins@bransontrilakesnews.com

TangerKIDS Grants open for applications
A Branson shopping destination, Tanger Outlets Branson announces applications are open for their 2022 TangerKIDS Grants.
Tanger Outlets Branson launched their TangerKIDS Grant program in 1996, with a mission of providing funding for schools in the community.
According to a press release from Tanger, the program serves future generations of leaders by providing funds for special programs at local schools
geared toward inclusivity. Applications are now open for this year’s grants, with program updates that further incorporate the company’s mission,
vision and values, states the release. Tanger Outlets invites teachers and other education leaders to identify and apply for grants meeting their school’s specific needs as they work to create a more productive and inclusive learning environment. In previous years, TangerKIDS Grants have funded notable projects,
programs and equipment for schools, including: – Branson Backpack Club Program – Reeds Spring Excellence in Literacy – Taneyville Sensory Lab

“Tanger Outlets Branson remains committed to ensuring local students and their schools receive the tools they need to make learning accessible and
inclusive,” Tanger Outlets Marketing Director Karen Foutch said. “Our goal is to open doors and inspire students, and the generous support from our shoppers
has been instrumental in helping us make a positive impact on the next generation.” The program is funded by Tanger shoppers, as $1 from every Tanger coupon
book sold at the center is donated toward the program. New in 2022, community members will also be invited to have a voice in selecting grant winners.
The annual program is open to public and private schools from pre-K to grade 12. Applications for 2022 will be accepted through June 30 and can
be submitted at grants. tangeroutlets.com. Recipients will be announced in August.

Gift bags brighten the days of cancer patients

By AJ Meakins
ajmeakins@bransontrilakesnews.com

Local resident, Rose Backlin, gives back to area cancer patients in honor of her father. Backlin began the ‘Don’t Give Up Gear’ program in the fall of 2020 and every three months gives out 30 bags with community-donated items to help put a
smile on the face of cancer patients at Branson Cancer Center. “These bags started in small makeup bags and have grown,” Backlin told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “The items always vary, but a few examples would be Fuzzy/Warm socks, Hats, Scarves, Snack Items, homemade rice heating pad, word search books, pens, Germ-x, lotion, stress balls, peppermints, small
sewing kits, first aid kits, and so many more. This program is to bring a smile to their face.” Backlin said her dad, the late Danny Pride, is her inspiration to give back. “He had cancer for many years and passed June 2020 due to cancer. Talking to his nurses at the Branson Cancer Center, they told me how he always made the other patients smile or would reach out to the
new patients when they were nervous to help ease their nerves or even try to encourage them,” Backlin said.

“They said he always had the best attitude no matter how his day was going. My Dad was always cracking a joke with people
around him, especially people he saw regularly or he was just being ‘ornery so these stories just made sense. After (he) passed I wanted to continue bringing smiles to those patients that are going through a rough time and could use that
small gesture to help them make it another day. My dad always thought the reason he could keep going on for so long with chemo was because of his attitude. Now I can help adjust someone else’s attitude.”

Cancer Center of Branson Oncology Patient Navigator Angelia Huels said she remembered Pride and the way he would be there for other patients. “(Rose) and (her) group that are thinking of these patients and families are a blessing and encouragement,” Huels said. “Just like (her) dad, who would come by and visit with people and encourage each of them in
some way.”

On March 16, Cox Medical Center Branson posted this on their Facebook page about Backlin’s program:
A loving legacy. An act of kindness. Our friend Rose started a tradition awhile back while her father was undergoing cancer
treatments. Every few months, she’d drop off goodie bags for our cancer patients crammed full of fun stuff like snacks, fuzzy socks and games. They bring the BIGGEST smiles. She lost her dad Danny but continues the tradition as a way to honor him. We hate cancer with our whole heart! As much as we also miss Danny, we love seeing Rose walk through our doors and the smiles she brings with her bags. Thank you for the joy! There are many things about the program Backlin says makes her feel
she is doing the right thing and gives her the joy of knowing what she does is rewarding. “The most rewarding part of this program is honoring my Dad first and watching his impact on others continue even though he is gone,” Backlin said. “Secondly, it’s simply knowing I made someone smile, cheered them up, or gave them encouragement to keep fighting.” Backlin’s gift bags
have been a beacon of kindness when times are dark for many patients and their families.

She recently had a Facebook message from someone whose mother was a patient at the Cancer Center of Branson. “Rose Backlin, I just want to thank you for doing this. One of the last conversations me and my mom had last year before she died was how a ‘sweet lady brought stuff in for everyone.’ You literally made her day with that, and it was hard for her to have good days being back on treatment,” the Facebook message read. Backlin said she has never kept count of how many bags she has given out but thinks it is between 150 to 180 so far. The community can help her with this mission by gifting items for the bags. “To help the program I am always looking for items to put in the bags. I request that there be 30 of each item so all the bags are the same and nothing perishable. Any item that would bring a smile or some encouragement would be appreciated,” Backlin said. “Eventually, I would love to be able to place restaurant and gas gift cards into the bags.” The bags are a way to pass along kindness to patients who are going through so much, Backlin said. “I would like everyone to know how thankful I am to have this support from the community. I started out with no intention besides passing on some kindness and smiles in my Dad’s honor,” Backlin said. “I can’t develop the words to describe how I feel for all this support or the feelings I get when I leave from dropping the bags off. It is indescribable!”

Backlin recently created a Facebook page called ‘Don’t Give Up Gear’.“The Facebook page is where I will be updating what the cancer patients are needing or wanting and when the collection dates will be.” For more information contact Rose through the Facebook page.

JATC’s ‘Tender Critters’ project continues

Junior Auxiliary of Taney County continues to supply “Tender Critters” to agencies that need something that offers comfort to children in trauma situations. Tender Critters are new 6” to 18″ stuffed animals that JATC collects or buys and donates to agencies that use them to help comfort children who are in trauma.  Holding a soft cuddly stuffed animal helps kids think of something other than what’s going on around them.  Last month JATC donated over 175 stuffed animals to the Cox Branson ER, the Taney County Sherriff’s Office, and the Taney County Health Department.

 When children face the confusing and often scary experience of a hospital emergency room visit or a hospital stay, or receiving a shot at the Health Department, a cuddly stuffed animal can be the difference between anxiety and reassurance. You can brighten a child’s day by donating one of these “Critters”.

 “Tender Critters” is one of the longest running projects for JATC, with members donating new stuffed animals at each of their monthly meetings.  This collection is a year-round effort and JATC invites members of the community to join us in brightening a child’s day by donating a “tender critter” at any time.  Just send a message to jatcmo@gmail.com, and a JATC member will contact you about picking up your donation.

 A special thanks to Legends in Concert who held their area appreciation for residents of Stone and Taney County last month.  Any guest who brought a new stuffed animal to donate to JATC’s Tender Critter project received a free upgrade to preferred seating. Close to 120 “Critters” were collected.

 JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it’s a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney County.  That’s the magic of JATC.  It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County. JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in almost 100 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,