March 5, 2009 --
With many out of a job and factories closing their doors, families are scraping to get by. It's a horrifying tale you hear all over Region 8, but now one community says enough is enough.
Jan Paschal is the President and Founder of the Every Child is Ours Organization. She started this program because she saw some schools who had everything and some with nothing.
"What if one school didn't need something and they could share it with other schools?"
That idea has snowballed into what is now the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet in Tuckerman.
"We just thought, why can't we use this in our own town? We help kids all over the world, even in Africa, but we have to think about our own communities and we have to take care of our people."
But it's taken a lot of volunteers to make this dream a reality.
Every Child is Ours is partnering with the City of Tuckerman, the Happy Quilters, Tuckerman Fire and Police Departments, and the Tuckerman High School Spanish Club.
Mayor Everett King says it's because they've all been blind to the true need in their community till recently.
"You never know what the need is. You could have a fire, a tornado, a natural disaster, we had the ice storm. And that's when we realized some people didn't have food or even shoes. I think once people see what we've got, they'll like it and it will be great for our community."
The Food Pantry and Clothing Closet is located inside the old Masonic Lodge off of HWY 67 next to the Tuckerman Water Tower.
"This building was pretty scary at first, it hadn't been used in years, and with the help of the community we were able to get it looking great. And if we can come together for that, then why can the community come together even more?"
Paschal says the only requirement to using the facility is that your child has to be enrolled in a Jackson County School.
"Just come in and tell us how many are in your family. We don't care how much money you make, that's not what this is about. This isn't just for the poor. This is for everyone. You come in, get what you need, and then you'll leave here thinking, well I may have something I could bring that I no longer use. Or you'll say, maybe I can volunteer next Monday."
Paschal refers to the movie, 'Pay it Forward', and says this is what they hope to accomplish.
"We want to stir something in their hearts, so they will want to help others."
They are in need of men's suits and women's business clothes. If you would like to make a donation just take it by the Food Pantry and Clothing Closet off HWY 67.
If you would like to make a monetary donation, you can send it:
P.O. Box 751
Tuckerman, AR 72473