County Store, Kiwanis both help those in need


CRESCO - The Cresco Kiwanis Club has been an active service organization in Cresco for decades. The County Store has been serving Howard County for eight years. Although their tenure in the community is different, their goals are similar. After a presentation to the Kiwanis Club, by County Store Manager, Diane Kueker, a new appreciation for both has come to light.
Different Entities yet Same Desired Results
Kueker spoke to Kiwanis Club members and shared information about the County Store’s operations, funding sources and community outreach that happens there every day.
“Diane came to speak to Kiwanis members about a month ago,” said Kelly Buehler, Kiwanis Club President. “After she was done, the Club was totally in awe of the challenges that are on the plates of Lon Scheidel (President, Howard County Charitable Projects) and Kueker (County Store Manager). We found that we had a common goal. To help. It’s about the causes.”
Kueker agreed.
“I went to educate the Kiwanis on what we do at the County Store, and what I came back with was being educated myself as well,” she noted.
“For us, our focus is on the youth in our community,” said Buehler.
“And for us, it’s about serving the whole community,” added Kueker.
The result of this meeting and coming together was not only a better understanding of each other but a $500 donation to the County Store by the Cresco Kiwanis Club as well.
“We extend our assistance beyond the store,” said Kueker. “We help with other projects within the community. If there are projects that we can help with, that there is a need for, we will help. Right now the immediate connection with the school is that we help out the teachers and nurse with a stash of clothes, so when there is a need they have something available.”
Of the collaboration, Buehler said, “This was a way to pay it forward. We wanted to be of service in our community so they can continue to pay it forward through people and product.”
This is a combination that works.
in the Community
“What really impressed me was the connection the County Store makes with people every day,” Buehler stated. “We were fascinated with the challenges that are faced there every day and how they help people get back into society in a variety of ways, as well as offering products for the community.”
The County Store works with AARP, Promise Jobs, Experience Works, those who need to serve community service in both the Juvenile and Adult Corrections, and the 73-75-year-olds who fall through the cracks, because there are not programs really available for that age group. Kueker also helps on-site individuals with job coaching, soft skills training and the pursuit of their HSED if there is a need.
“People have the misconception that we are funded by the county,” said Kueker. “We are not. We are fortunate that we have a lot of local citizens step up and donate.”
The County Store helps in other ways too. With their work, 85 tons of product did not go into the landfill last year, including 5,000 pounds of shoes, 500 pounds of purses, 21 tons of textile and 300-400 pounds of books.
“We make a big difference here,” said Scheidel. “We have some great successes but also some big heartbreaks.”
And for those who wonder “What does Kiwanis do?”
 “We are kid-focused,” said Buehler. “We have a few big fund-raisers each year, and with that money we help in our community.”
The money raised through fundraisers goes toward a variety of projects within the community: providing 3-4, $500 scholarships for Dollars for Scholars each year; giving each third grade student a dictionary, that also contains factual sections about our world, our states and our Presidents; and Student of the Month. 
Student of the Month recognizes both a seventh and eighth grade student each month. Students receive a framed certificate of recognition, as well as a complimentary meal with their family at the monthly Kiwanis meeting.
The Cresco Kiwanis and The County Store can be considered very different, but the two found out through chance how very much they are alike — a common goal of helping those in their community in a variety of ways.
Helping others is a crucial part of any area. Kueker perhaps summed it up best when she said, “You can’t heal those outside your community until you help inside your community.”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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