A grant written by the Cole PTO and carried through by farmers and parents at James Cole Elementary School looks to have a lasting impact on several fronts for Cole children. America's Farmers Grow Communities grant provided by Monsanto was issued on behalf of Jennifer and Brandon Moseley, Cole Elementary School parents who farm for a living. This grant provides $2,500 to the school to use to address present needs. Brandon and Jennifer felt strongly that a portion of the grant should be used to ensure children are fed so they can learn and thrive. To that end, $1,000 has been applied to the Food Finders Backpack Program at Cole. The backpack program offers backpacks of food to families in need each Thursday. These backpacks are returned and refilled the next week. To many families at Cole, this backpack program is a temporary assist when times are tough. It also helps fill the gaps so that children can have healthy meals each evening.
"The Monsanto grant, America's Farmers Grow Communities, does exactly what the program is called. Monsanto has provided a pathway for farmers to give back to their local communities. Being involved in production agriculture, feeding people is naturally important to me and one of the top reasons I do what I do. I think many farmers like myself feel the same way," offered Brandon Moseley.
Additionally, $1,000 will be provided to the school's Cole Cub lunch account. This account ensures that children who have negative balances on their lunches still have the benefit of a healthy breakfast and lunch while in school without the shame that could come when circumstances result in negative balances.
"I feel that the donation to the lunch program and food finders backpack program is a great use of the funds. It will help fight the childhood hunger issues in the community I grew up and live in," stated Brandon Moseley.
Cole Principal Mike Pinto agrees. "Both the backpack program and the Cole Cub account help us with our daily mission of instruction. It is not possible to be the best you can be when you are worried about the next meal you will have or if you go to bed on an empty stomach," says Pinto. "The Cole Community is always so appreciative when assistance is offered and in the time I have been here have not taken advantage of offers for help when they are provided. Rather, moms and dads are appreciative of help offered discreetly and will call and say, 'We're back on our feet. Thank you.' later when circumstances change."
The remaining funds from the Monsanto grant will be applied to the Cole Professional Academy. This program was begun this year in fifth grade at Cole as a way to assist in soft skill acquisition. The program provided the fifth grade with speakers on a variety of topics ranging from interview skills, table manners, job applications, social media/email etiquette, and personal skills at home. Students receive a collared shirt for academy days and are provided with a variety of hands-on experiences that will assist them in their future.
"The Cole Professional Academy will greatly benefit from this grant and will be a gift that keeps giving for Cole students. Individuals that participate in the academy are more likely to become well-rounded model citizens that will continue to give back to the community that they benefited from," shared Moseley. "Generally farmers, including myself, enjoy being involved in the community and we like to give back. Monsanto has provided a tool to help us with that! The kids of the Cole elementary community will benefit greatly from this."
Aside from the financial support for the Cole Professional Academy, Monsanto has also offered its participation in the Interview Day scheduled during the Cole Professional Academy in February.
"Grants like America's Farmers Grow Communities are so welcomed by a school. They provide options for the school and also allow the school a chance to fill in gaps that exist unbeknownst to many," says Pinto. "I am so very grateful to Monsanto, the Moseley Family, and the Cole PTO for helping our school help children. Our school's mission statement reads, "We help students learn; We grow kind citizens; We keep children safe." This grant hits all three of those important areas of focus. I am so very grateful."