Strafford R-VI School District receives grant to open nonprofit chapter

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STRAFFORD, Mo. — If hardship were to strike families at one area school district, it will now be better equipped to provide relief.

The Jeanette L. Musgrave Foundation presented a $20,000 grant for Care to Learn to create a chapter in Strafford.

Care to Learn provides funding to meet health hunger and hygiene needs in schools across Missouri.

Strafford has around 1,200 students.

Olivia Grayson’s high school experience started poorly she had a spinal fusion her freshman year.

“I had to go out and get a whole new wardrobe,” Grayson said.

Grayson’s family couldn’t afford new clothes, plus school supplies became more expensive.

Luckily, the district gave her gift cards to Old Navy and Walmart.

“I’m so grateful. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world,” Grayson said. “It really means a lot to me and my family.”

With a Care to Learn chapter coming to Strafford, it will soon be able to help more people like Grayson.

“It means a lot. We’re very grateful, very thankful Care to Learn applied for the grant on our behalf to get our chapter started,” Marcy Easterly, a Community Liaison for the Strafford R-VI School District said.

Easterly will serve as the chapter’s main contact. She says the area’s poverty rate grows every year.

Close to 46% of students qualify for free-and-reduced lunch.

“We are like every other district in the area,” Easterly said.

The Strafford Foundation formed in 2014 to address this situation and it has awarded almost $70,000 in grants to students and teachers.

“The most successful thing they’ve done was start a backpack food program,” Easterly said.

A free clothing event is also held four times a year.

“With Care to Learn we would be able to go out and purchase shoes if a teacher or a nurse or a counselor sees that a student needs something right away.”

Easterly says Strafford is now the last school in Greene County to begin a Care to Learn chapter.

“We officially, basically kind of sealed the deal,” Easterly said. “So that was very nice to hear too. We kind of completed a puzzle.”

Easterly says she hopes the chapter is ready to get started by September.

She says she wants to see Care to Learn expand on the foundation’s accomplishments.

By the way, the foundation gave Grayson those gift cards.

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