Volunteers Work To Ease Neighbors’ Burdens

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The Mountain Village Foundation is hosting its annual Country Western Steak Fry from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15 at the StrawBEARy Bear on Ralls Drive in Strawberry. This is a major fund-raiser for the organization.

The meal features steaks cooked to order, ranch beans, cole slaw, rolls and the ever-famous Texas sheet cake. Trouble in Paradise will play and a cash bar will operate all night. Get a $15 ticket from any Mountain Village Foundation member and at the StrawBEARy Bear or at the door, including a vegetarian meal.

The non-profit, volunteer Mountain Village Foundation helps children, families and individuals of the Strawberry and Pine communities and provides a social environment for its members.

Mountain Village Foundation is the new name for Strawberry’s Elite, although the group continues to help kids and their families by buying school clothes and school lunches, paying utility bills and in emergency situations.

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Christy Powers photo

Firefighters and Mountain Village Foundation volunteers worked together to serve breakfast to more than 300 people during the Labor Day weekend Arts & Crafts Festival in Pine.

The group grew out of a conversation in the winter of 1992 at the Black Bear in Strawberry where a core group realized many children in Pine and Strawberry did not have winter clothing, wood to heat their homes or money for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This original group was laughingly named “The Strawberry Jackasses.”

Their first fund-raiser netted $100 from collecting aluminum cans, (which were abundant during the cold winter months). In 1994, several gun raffles and the first yard sale helped two families who had suffered unexpected losses and provided winter clothing to 10 children in the Pine/Strawberry School.

Tongue firmly in cheek, the 18 members decided to change the name to Strawberry’s Elite. The group has so far raised more than $30,000 for people in need in Pine and Strawberry.

Pancake breakfasts are a big fund-raiser for MVF. In cooperation with the Pine/Strawberry Firefighters Association, they serve pancake breakfasts on the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends to start off the Arts and Crafts Festivals at the Community Center in Pine. Children may find unusual shapes on their plates, including a heart, flower or Mickey Mouse. Sausage, juice and fresh coffee are included for a meager $5. The proceeds are divided. The P/S Firefighters use their portion for needed equipment and supplies. MVF buys shoes and jackets for kids.

MVF has recently taken on a new project. In the past, the P/S Food Bank collected toys and gifts so that every child would have a Christmas present. The project grew too large for the over-worked food bank volunteers. They offered it to MVF, a group eager to handle this valuable program. Most of the gifts are donated, but MVF members sort, wrap, determine needs and distribute the gifts to children in cooperation with the Food Bank and P/S School.

Mountain Village Foundation welcomes new members at its 5:30 p.m. monthly dinner meetings on the first Thursday of the month at the StrawBEARy Bear on Ralls Drive in Strawberry. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. The primary requirement for membership is having a desire to help people in need. With questions, call Christy at (928) 476-2239.

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