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Sunflower, local business ask community to brighten Christmas
new slt giving tree
The Christmas tree at Great Bend Coffee displays ornaments that represent children at Sunflowers Early Education Center and Incredible Years Preschool. Jolene Hindman, left, is a preschool teacher and LaResa Lykes owns Great Bend Coffee.

          Christmas will be a little merrier for children who might not otherwise have a package to open this year, thanks to a local non-profit agency and a Great Bendbusiness.                                                                                                                                                                     

          Infants and toddlers served by Sunflower Diversified Service’s Early Education Center (EEC) and Incredible Years (IY) Preschool will benefit from the activity sponsored by Great Bend Coffee, 2015 Lakin.

          “Great Bend Coffee has been our partner in this special Christmas tree display for several years now,” said Cathy Estes, Sunflower children’s services coordinator. “We are so grateful to LaResa and Eugene Lykes and others in the community that are reaching out to our youngsters again this year.”

          The tree is decorated with tags, each representing a child enrolled in the EEC’s early intervention program or the preschool. Gender, age and clothing size, along with wants and needs, are indicated on the individual tags.

          Participants are asked to select a tag and then place a gift under the tree no later than Friday, Dec. 11 so they can be delivered before Christmas in Sunflower’s service area.

          “We carefully chose the families represented on the tree,” Estes said. “Anyone who participates can be assured the children involved deserve a special gift at Christmas.

          “We are serving nearly 80 children right now at the early ed center and 40 in our preschool; it is gratifying that parents are seeking early intervention and education,” Estes added. “It is the best route to achieving developmental milestones.”

          Sunflower’s EEC is part of the tiny-k network in Kansas that provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and delays at no charge. Its preschool is for any child, including those who are developing typically; tuition is based on income.

          The non-profit agency’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.