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Teachers, principals and counselors in Missoula’s public schools see kids every day without winter coats, boots, school supplies or even enough food. Missoula’s schools don’t have the resources to help every child in need, but Missoula Organization of Realtors' nonprofit organization MOR4Kids can help fill that gap.

Since its creation in 2011, MOR4Kids has provided $33,975 in direct contributions to Missoula’s schools. The money goes to school resource rooms to provide funding for food, milk, clothing and gas to help parents get their kids to school. MOR also has a room with a “store” in its office building filled with school supplies, toiletries, winter coats, boots, gym shoes, snow pants and clothing. The MOR Store is available to school counselors and teachers to “shop” free of charge for kids in need.

Paxson Elementary School has used MOR4Kids funding and the MOR Store to provide clothing, gift cards for groceries, gas and phone, according to Principal Kelly Chumrau. It even has used the funds to purchase a YMCA membership for a family and dance classes for a talented student without the means to pay herself.

“The money makes a real difference in people’s lives,” Chumrau said. “We appreciate being able to stop by the office to pick up shoes and toiletries for the kids.”

MOR4Kids was created after members of the organization recognized a growing need in Missoula’s school system.

“Kids are going to school hungry, without school supplies, and even without the proper clothing,” said Realtor Judy Gudgel, one of the MOR4Kids founders. “These kids live in our neighborhoods and are friends with our children.”

MOR funds have been raised primarily through two major events each year: A golf tournament in June and a charity auction called Denim & Diamonds in November, which members of MOR volunteer their time to organize. Tax-deductible donations can also be made at missoularealestate.com/mor4kids or by mail to MOR4Kids, 1610 S. Third St. W., Suite 201, Missoula, MT 59801.

The Missoula Organization of Realtors is a trade association dedicated to providing valuable programs, products and services to members, to affiliate members and the community. Find out more at missoularealestate.com.

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Humanities Montana awarded a $500 grant to the Flagship Program in support of Our Stories: Diversity Week at Hellgate High School.

The grant supports presentations and workshops that promote acceptance and respect of others through storytelling. Diversity Week, Feb. 9-13, exposes students to a variety of social issues through different presentations, documentary films and workshops to help students gain a deeper understanding of ethics and analytical thinking.

Hellgate High School student Marius Reschke is working with the Flagship Program to bring Tina Meier, founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, to speak at Hellgate as part of his senior project. Meier’s presentation includes discussion of bullying, being a bystander, online bullying and sexting.

Reschke is passionate about sharing Meier’s story to help others feel safe and not alone: “We all have our own stories. We may present a certain way on the exterior at school, but you really don’t know how someone is feeling on the inside. Students walk through the halls saying things to people jokingly and not understanding how it can truly hurt someone.”

Humanities Montana is the state’s independent nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1972, Humanities Montana has provided services and grants to hundreds of Montana organizations in support of public programs in history, literature, values and public issues. Among its many programs are its grants, Montana Conversations and the Governor’s Humanities Awards. 

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News assistant at The Missoulian.