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Thursday, May 5, 2016

YMCA Carnival benefits Missouri Hotel Residents

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Residents at the Missouri Hotel wait in line for a turn in the bookworm inflatable toy during a carnival hosted by the Monett Area YMCA Challengers in July. The benefit was held after Challengers hosted a food drive for the Misouri Hotel and toured the facility. "We kicked around some ideas and settled on the carnival," said Jeremy Schmidt, child care coordinator at the Monett Area YMCA. "The Challengers had a lot of fun, and so did the residents of the Missouri Hotel." [Photo courtesy of the Monett Area YMCA]
Last Year, members of the Monett Area YMCA Challengers day camp program hosted a food drive to benefit both the local food pantry and the Missouri Hotel, a homeless shelter, in Springfield.

When those supplies were delivered last year, day camp participants toured the facility and were in awe of how the families lived.

"There was no air conditioning," said Jeremy Schmidt, child care coordinator for the Monett Area YMCA. "Residents there shared common bathrooms and had little privacy. The kids just didn't understand how they could live like that."

Residents of the Missouri Hotel in Springfield chose designs to have painted on their faces during the first YMCA Challengers Carnival, held in July, to benefit the organization. Challengers staffed a number of activities for the enjoyment of the children and adult residents of the facility. [Photo courtesy of Monett Area YMCA]
The Challengers felt like they wanted to do something to help the residents of the Missouri Hotel, so this year, the idea of hosting a carnival was put forth.

"The kids got behind the idea," Schmidt said. "They staffed everything."

Donations of food and money came in from local businesses, and plans were finalized for the event.

"We provided hot dogs, chips and Kool-Aid for residents of the Missouri Hotel," Schmidt said. "We set up sprinklers and inflatable toys, carnival games and face-painting for an afternoon of entertainment."

Approximately 75-100 residents of the shelter, children and adults, took advantage of the opportunity to have some fun on what Schmidt said was one of the hottest days of the year.

"It was 105 degrees," he said. "The heat index was like 112 degrees. Even adults were out running through the sprinklers and cooling off.

"The Challenger kids did a great job staffing the toys and games at the event," Schmidt continued. "We rewarded them with a pizza party."

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