By Annette Aubinger
HOWARD – Giving back to the community is not new for Russell Styczynski. Styczynski is the owner of SMT Machine & Tool, Inc. and Starting Point Day Care (both in Howard).
Styczynski has given to the Howard-Suamico school district for many years.
Some of his giving includes donating money throughout the years to the Bay Port sports programs. He also donated a special work and study space to the district for students who have difficulty in school.
Wanting to give back more, this year his day care, Starting Point, became partners with the Howard-Suamico school district The Giving Tree project.
The mission of The Giving Tree is to branch out to the Howard-Suamico school district and surrounding communities to provide support and supplement basic needs of families to enhance students’ educational journey towards self-sufficiency.
Starting Point Day Care did that. Styczynski sponsored a food drive at the daycare and donated all the food.
Knowing that it may be difficult for families to purchase food for a Thanksgiving meal he said his first thought was to provide a cooked meal for all those who could not afford a Thanksgiving Day meal.
After thinking about it, he came up with the idea of providing families in need a bag full of food so they could stay at home with their families and prepare a meal.
This food drive is special. The items Styczynski purchased were specific to a thanksgiving meal; gravy, cream of mushroom soup, a can of green beans, stove top dressing, potatoes, fried onion crinkles and pumpkin pie mix with a crust.
As far as the meat, in each bag there was a $30 gift certificate to purchase of turkey or other fixings at a local grocery store. The day care stuffed 100 bags.
“This is a great project for the day care. It is teaching the children to give back to the community” said Kim Viduski, Assistant Director for the daycare.
The children spent their time stuffing 100 bags of food for The Giving Tree. Children involved in the effort ranged in age from 5 to 11.
Over at Giving Tree fourth grade students from Howard Elementary School spent Monday, Nov. 13 unloading those 100 bags.
“How awesome of a community we live in that people are willing to do this,” said Angela Klumb, The Giving Tree manager.
Klumb moved around the food pantry looking for the spots for the bags donated by Starting Point as the students from Howard kept bringing in bags.
The Giving Tree relies on donations from businesses, churches and schools. When a district donates students from there come to the pantry to find out more and help sort the food.
Monday was a combination of students being there, being able to help with a donation from a private business.
“They understand the difference we’re making and want to be a part of it, so that’s phenomenal,” said Kourtney Feldhausen, The Giving Tree coordinator.
The donation of Thanksgiving meals plus a gift certificate for a turkey or other fixings helps ensure people who need food the most are getting something fresh.
“During this busy time, that’s even more important, making sure the food is healthy as well,” Feldhausen said.
Styczynski wanted to extend giving back to the community. He wanted the children at the day care to get involved in giving project and learn what it means to give.
“I want to give back to the communities I live and work in. I am very fortunate I can do this.” said Styczynski.
He said this giving is about children and seeing that they get a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day. He said it is about older children getting involved and asking questions about giving.
“In my mind, the big thing is giving back to the Howard-Suamico School District through this project,” Styczynski said. “It is not about receiving. It is all about giving.”
The Press staff writer Ben Rodgers contributed to this article.