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$25K grant to help rural children

MIDDLEBURY — The Turrell Fund presented its 20th annual S. Whitney Landon Award to the Mary Johnson Children’s Center of Middlebury for their program “RFD” (“Rural Fun Delivery”). The award included an unrestricted grant of $25,000. Two other grants in the amount of $2,500 were granted to VSA Vermont and Greater Burlington YMCA.
“The Landon Award gives RFD recognition and stability. The program has been and exciting step forward in providing on site services to underserved communities in Addison County,” explained Anne Gleason. “We are so grateful to the Turrell Fund for this generous grant.” 
RFD provides meals, social support, engaging activities and skills acquisition for over 100 children in rural Addison County throughout the summer. Each day, around lunchtime, a van packed with meals designed to promote health, camp-type crafts and materials, and staff who are qualified to deliver intentional programming and support for the well-being, social and emotional growth for Addison County’s underserved children, arrives at three trailer parks in in remote sections of Starksboro, Bridport and Shoreham.
An RFD member shares an illustrative story:
“The Rural Fun Delivery van pulls up to the central, shady location at the Lazy Brook mobile home park, at the scheduled time on a very warm July day. Not much has been happening all morning, but now children are waiting expectantly for the nutritious food, friendly adults, fun projects and stories. When the coolers have been unpacked, more children and a few parents join in. The lunches are opened, and young Tyler (age 6) finds something new offered — new to him, at least: a plum. He tries a bite, carefully, and discovers that he really likes plums, and when he is offered another from the sharing basket, he dives right in.
“His eyes get bigger and bigger as he listens to a story about a special kite day in Japan, and when the reading is finished, Tyler discovers that he’ll be able to take a copy of the book home as his own to keep. With help, he makes a mini-kite of his own, and he and other kids from Lazy Brook fly the kites in the open area at the entrance of the mobile home park.
“As things are winding down, he helps the adult leaders Kathy and Shannon pack up the supplies, and is offered the last remaining plum, to take home. Tyler tells them it will be for his brother, and waves an enthusiastic good-bye, asking if the RFD van would be coming the next day. The answer of “Yes, sure thing!” is greeted with an even broader smile as he turns and heads back along the road, into the park, bound for home with his book, his plum, his kite creation and a new bounce in his step. All in all, a pretty good day in a six-year-old’s summer.”
The Turrell Fund supports programs for young children throughout Vermont and in four counties of New Jersey. 

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