By Tammy Moore Teague
Hackett’s Helping Hands program kicked off on Monday afternoon as Chief Darrell Spells and Sebastian County Sheriff Deputy Mike Burcham delivered boxes filled with items for a Thanksgiving meal. The distribution was made possible by an anonymous donor.
Five Hackett families were blessed by the giving. Some were moved to tears by the generous act. “My family really appreciated what they did for us,” commented one of the recipients of the Thanksgiving meal boxes.
“Hackett Helping Hands was a program developed to provide families assistance during Christmas. This is our fourth year. In three years we have raised over $10,000 and helped 200 families,” stated Spells. “The support we have seen from the community has been tremendous. I had a family today donate $1,000 . They would never want me to name them publicly but I can tell you they care deeply about this community and taking care of these families at Christmas”.
One of the things Spells is adamant about is service to the community–“Protect and Serve.” It’s something he does with great heart and passion. Burcham said “the community loves him and he loves his community.” He is, however, quick to give credit to those who assist in this labor of love. Hackett City employees, Jennifer Costa and Kelly Lane help sack groceries and organize toys each year for Hackett Helping Hands. “Jennifer and Kelly are what keep this thing going behind the scenes. The last few days of the drive they never sit down because they’re handling their normal duties and rushing to the back to sack food and coordinate where each delivery is going. Their main function is to keep me away from any type of organization or we end up with twenty seven cans of cream corn and a bag of marshmallows in a grocery delivery.”
Additionally, the program benefits from the hard work of Debbie Hester’s EAST class at Hackett High School. The class provides banners and signs for the campaign. “The local Dollar General also provides a food and toy drive location. They’ve been a tremendous asset to the community.”
In the coming days, donation jars will be at local businesses. Toy and food donation boxes will also be at the Hackett Dollar General. You can make monetary donations at Hackett City Hall or Farmers Bank in Hackett. This year the donations are limited to monetary, food, or a new unwrapped toy only.
“I think it’s important for the public to see where their donation goes,” added Spells. “That’s why you’ll see some of our interactions on social media so the people who donated can say ‘hey I helped that boy get a new bike or that little girl get a new baby doll.'”
The Hackett Helping Hands program is off to a great start, and Spells is optimistic. “Over the years we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I’m excited to see what this year holds in store for the program. We’ll begin working with the school and churches soon to identify those families in need.”
By Tammy Moore Teague