September 25, 2003 - Posted at 11:30pm
TUCKERMAN, AR -- A Tuckerman native and member of the Clinton administration continues to help the less fortunate around the globe.
"There are positive things happening in Tuckerman. There are positive things happening in our schools," said Jan Paschal, the former Regional Administrator for the United States Department of Education for the New England states.
Paschal, along with help from students and other residents of Tuckerman, jump started a program called 'Every Child is Ours'. It originally began during in 1994, but officially stopped once former President Bill Clinton left office. Needy people world-wide have received donations thanks, in part, to the generous people of Jackson County.
Volunteer Lanita Wilkerson said, "The first time I went, we seen more of the down side of Mexico; the poor. I mean there was houses made out of cardboard."
Wilkerson helped deliver clothes and school supplies during two trips to Mexico. It's a nation which organized its first food bank in 1985 after an earthquake hit Mexico City. Jackson County farmers have agreed to donate part of their rice crop to the cause south of the border.
Marisa Valdes, a Mexican resident who helped get the food bank started, explained "These foods will be going into the soup kitchens that we have. Not only do we service the homes for the elderly, or the orphanages, but there are soup kitchens."
Quilts have also been sent to Mexico and to residents of Oglala Lakato Nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. It's an Indian reservation that's home to the poorest per capita income households in the United States. Haley Honey, a Tuckerman third grader, learned how to use a sewing machine to help them.
"A lady asked me if I wanted to sew on one of them, so I started sewing, and I figure out I could, and then she asked me to sew some (Christmas) stockings. I left some holes in them a little bit, but I finally got where I didn't leave any holes," Honey added.
Oglala Lakato Nation President John Yellowbird Steel stated," If you can effect just one person, that person will effect another, and it's a chain reaction."