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Aktion Club delivers blankets to area organizations
Courtesy photo United Healthcare representatives deliver 151 blankets, donated in late March, to the Rosewood Miracle Workers Aktion Club at Rosewood Activity Center. Standing left to right: Amanda Rome (UHC care coordinator); Codie Harding (RW Aktion Club); Kurtis Coleman (RW Aktion Club); Samantha Purcell (RW Aktion Club), Katie Leikam (UHC care coordinator); and Karla Franklin (RW Aktion Club).
Courtesy photo Barton County Health Department Bev Frizell (licensed dietitian) and Debra Higgins (public health nurse) stand, left to right, among the quilts, especially made by a local quilters group for the Rosewood Aktion Club Blanket Drive. The local quilters have contributed to the annual drive for several years now, with all of their homemade quilts being donated to the Health Department.

Rosewood Miracle Workers Aktion Club completed its annual community blanket drive this month by donating to three Great Bend organizations that serve area children in need. Club representatives donated a total of 231 blankets to the Barton County Health Department, Family Crisis Center and St. Francis Ministries. The blanket drive, which involved community members donating blankets and/or monetary contributions to the cause, was conducted from January through March this year.

This year’s drive was especially bolstered by three organizations coordinating their own efforts to contribute to the community drive. United Healthcare donated approximately 150 blankets; in addition, Robin Rziha, UHC care coordinator, contributed $100 to the purchase of blankets, and that contribution is being matched by her company to go toward even more blankets. 

Also contributing to the effort, RSVP Volunteers In Action donated approximately 20 blankets, and a local quilters group donated handmade quilts to the drive. 

“We can’t say enough good things about the involvement we received from United Healthcare and the two community organizations that were so involved this year in our cause,” said Rosewood Aktion Club sponsor Frankie Pelster. “They are such a big reason why our blanket drive was so successful. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts. We also give thanks to every community member who came forward to contribute to this important drive.

“Because of such tremendous goodwill, we were able to provide a lot of much-needed blankets to three worthwhile organizations that serve our community’s children in need,” Pelster said.

The blankets are a welcomed addition to Family Crisis Center, 1924 Broadway Ave., as blankets are given to every child served by the organization that covers a 10-county area. The Barton County Health Department, 1300 Kansas Ave. Suite B, follows Barton County mothers through their pregnancies and present parents with a blanket for their newborns. Saint Francis Ministries, 1508 Main, serves nearly 100 area foster children and families, so blankets are always in demand. 

This is the second consecutive Rosewood Aktion Club community drive effort that United Healthcare has played such an integral role. Last fall, the business greatly contributed to the club’s Coloring Book and Crayon Drive, which helped result in record amounts raised. UHC teams participate in one volunteer event per quarter, said Amanda Rome, UHC care coordinator.     

“All over the state, we are doing things like this for our communities,” Rome explained. “We are pretty spread out as a group, with each team having 12 or 13 care coordinators and our managers, too, so that equates to a lot of participation throughout the state. For this drive, we received a lot of monetary donations from our teams, which allowed us to then go make the purchases for these blankets.” 

“Working with the Aktion Club is nice because the drive benefits the members and it also benefits the community,” added Katie Leikam, UHC care coordinator. “We are so happy to help with this effort.”

For Rosewood Aktion Club members, they appreciate the community support they receive for their annual drive. They especially enjoy drop-off day when they deliver the blankets to the community organizations that serve area children.  

“I like that our drive helps the area children in need, and I especially like that we were able to help the newborns with quilt donations at the Barton County Health Department,” said Rosewood Aktion Club member Kurtis Coleman. Added fellow club member Codie Hardie, “It’s helping those people who can’t afford blankets for their children, so I like that a lot about our drive.”

Rosewood Aktion Club is an affiliate of the national Kiwanis organization that promotes service in action for people with developmental disabilities. The area club allows Rosewood members to be actively involved in the community and to positively impact the lives of others.