Local News

Breakfast benefits KCSL

In the early days of the Kansas Children Service League, more than 100 years ago, children in the program would hang red stockings on the mantle and community members would fill up the stockings for children who otherwise wouldn't receive anything for Chr

Date: 12/7/2009

Posted by Kansas Children's Service League on 12/11/2009


By MONICA SPRINGER

mspringer@gctelegram.com

That's the story of how the Kansas Children Service League's annual fundraising event, the Red Stocking Breakfast, received its name, Lisa Knoll, development manager, and Janet Schalansky, president and CEO, said.

The story also symbolizes the community coming together to give to children, Knoll said. On Saturday morning, about 400 people gathered for the KCSL's Red Stocking Breakfast at Lone Star Steakhouse.

 Brad Nading/Telegram Rick Atha, left, Kelly Biemeister, Polly Cantanese and other volunteers dish out various breakfast foods, from pancakes and biscuits and gravy to bacon and scrambled eggs, Saturday during the Kansas Children Service League Red Stocking Breakfast at Lone Star Steakhouse, 2306 E. Kansas Ave. (Brad Nading/Telegram Rick Atha, left, Kelly Biemeister, Polly Cantanese and other volunteers dish out various breakfast foods, from pancakes and biscuits and gravy to bacon and scrambled eggs, Saturday during the Kansas Children Service League Red Stocking Breakfast at Lone Star Steakhouse, 2306 E. Kansas Ave.)

Brad Nading/Telegram David Medina, left, refills George Bahena's coffee cup Saturday during the Kansas Children Service League Red Stocking Breakfast. (Brad Nading/Telegram David Medina, left, refills George Bahena's coffee cup Saturday during the Kansas Children Service League Red Stocking Breakfast.)

The event raised more than $34,000 for the KCSL, Knoll said.

"We're thrilled," she said. "People are generous. This is a community where people put kids first."

The money the KCSL raised goes directly to the programs the organization offers in Finney County, Knoll said.

Those programs include Head Start, and Early Head Start, which has 600 children in southwest Kansas and 300 in Finney County. Head Start and Early Head Start is a program for kids up to 5 years of age and their families. The families fall below federal regulations for poverty, Knoll said, and oftentimes the families are in tight financial situations.

"When you struggle to pay the bills, you don't have time to think about whether your child is learning the ABC's," Schalansky said. "If you don't have food in your fridge it's hard to think about taking your child to the library."

The program works with the parents also, Schalansky and Knoll said, and each family sets financial goals. Some want to buy a house, go to college or start a checking account. The goal of the program is to get the family out of poverty.

About 30 local celebrities, including city and county officials, school board members, Garden City Community College trustees and law enforcement officials, helped serve the breakfast of eggs, pancakes, biscuits, gravy, sausage and bacon.

In addition, about 20 of the KCSL's community council also helped serve the breakfast. The community council is a group of Garden City citizens who care about children, Knoll said, and they meet once a month to discuss the KCSL.

Kevin Bascue, Finney County sheriff, and Micah Kasriel, who works at GCCC and is a member of the KCSL's community council, helped serve the breakfast on Saturday morning.

Both have volunteered for the event for numerous years.

"It's pretty fun," Bascue said.

Kasriel, who serves on several boards in the Garden City community, said she appreciates the community's support.

"The community council appreciates that the community has supported this annual tradition," she said.

And for many families, attending the breakfast has become a tradition, Knoll said.

Jean Strandmark, Garden City, ate breakfast on Saturday morning with her son, Nathan Strandmark, his two daughters, Kate and Allie, and her mother, Eldora Kleysteuber.

Jean Strandmark said she's been to the breakfast in the past and that it's nice to people and visit with people at the breakfast.

"It's a worthwhile cause," she said. "It's a fun event to come to."