The 2016 Heart of America Stand Down toiletry drive began with a special Veterans Day Assembly. Prairie Elementary was honored to have Colonel Mike Hess speak about both his military experience, as well as his continued service to fellow veterans through a local ministry known as RezVets. After serving in the United States Army for more than 20 years, with 3 tours in Vietnam, Col. Hess co-founded RezVets through The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. We learned about the sacrifice that veterans make in service to our country and the challenges facing veterans when they return home. We were excited to have Col. Hess share his experiences with the faculty and students of Prairie Elementary, and to help kick off the 2016 Stand Down Collection.
With the generous support of Prairie Elementary students, families and faculty members, the toiletry collection was huge success! The collection lasted for 2 weeks and on the final day items were sorted by student council representatives. The toiletries collected were distributed at the Heart of America Stand Down and served nearly 400 veterans in need. For more information about the Stand Down, please check out KCTV5 coverage of the event. The toiletry drive was also supported by other outside groups and individuals including: Trader Joe's, Dollar General, CVS, the Belinder Elementary 5th Grade, RezVets, and many amazing friends and family members. Please see our photo gallery below for highlights from the Stand Down!