Lisa Kiper

LISA KIPER, with WSB, spoke to the WInnsboro - Franklin Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting Sept. 5. Kiper reviewed upcoming events and encouraged the crowd to become involved with volunteerism throughout the parish. (Sun photo by Monica Huff)

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time — they have the heart.” 

Elizabeth Andrew

Opportunities abound for those willing to spend time improving their communities in Franklin Parish, said Lisa Kiper, WSB Community Development Coordinator.

Kiper spoke with members of the Winnsboro - Franklin Parish Chamber of Commerce Thursday at their monthly meeting.

“If you are wondering where you fit in, I can find a place for you,” Kiper said.

One such “place” is with Impact Winnsboro, Kiper said. 

Impact Winnsboro is a branch of Convoy of Hope where different religions and races have come together to take on various projects throughout Franklin Parish.

“We want to be the hands and feet for helping people,” Kiper said. “We have to work together.”

Recently, Impact Winnsboro and Northeast Louisiana Children’s Coalition joined forces to bring early childhood curriculum to 13 daycare centers in Franklin Parish.

“Because of the curriculum, all of their scores have come up,” Kiper said. “Impact Winnsboro provided the labor and the Children’s Coalition provided the money.”

Convoy of Hope is a 25-year-old nonprofit organization providing communities and its residents with free essential items such as food, school supplies and haircuts. Convoy of Hope brings together a small army of local businesses, churches and governmental officials to be the labor to deliver the items to the people.

In another important area, volunteers are fighting back against bullying.

Twenty-one early childhood teachers have been trained to teach an anti-bullying curriculum called Al’s Pals through the efforts of Northeast Louisiana Children’s Coalition, Kiper said.

All elementary public schools along with Temple Pre-School will have the curriculum.

“We are super excited about this,” Kiper said.

In the spring, “buddy benches” will be purchased for the schools. These benches will be designed for students who need help or for those who want to help or be a “buddy” to sit on the bench.

Volunteers are being sought to purchase a bench and also to paint the benches, Kiper said.

Another nonprofit outreach powered by volunteers is CHOW-Franklin under the Brandon Sims Foundation.

CHOW-Franklin donates “CHOW-Kits” with eight to 10 nonperishable food items along with a drink to area elementaries. Recently, the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s office, who has partnered with CHOW-Franklin, delivered 200 bags to area schools.

If a person would like to donate nonperishable food, drop off points are located at Franklin Billing Services, Franklin State Bank, Kiper Hardware, Progressive Bank, Winnsboro Physical Therapy and Winnsboro State Bank.

Food items could be breakfast bars, packets of instant oatmeal, pop tarts, Ramen noodle cups, individual microwave mac & cheese, packages of peanut butter crackers, fruit and granola bars, packaged Rice Krispy treats and individual packages of nuts.

Other food items Chow-Franklin needs include pudding cups, packets of instant grits, fruit cups, Slim Jims, applesauce cups, packages of cheese crackers, fruit gummy bears, Beenie Weenies with pull tops and kid-friend soups with pull tops.

Volunteers are being sought to donate food and bag the “CHOW-Kits.”

Additionally, Franklin Parish’s Little Free Libraries are seeking children’s books to restock their supplies, Kiper said. Books can be dropped off at the Franklin Parish Library.

“I challenge you to get involved,” Kiper said. “Franklin Parish is a great place to raise a family, but it can be better. In order to make it better, we need you.”

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