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Jackson R-2 School District initiates ‘Hero Packs’ to help fulfill social, emotional needs of students

For many years now, the Jackson R-2 School District has participated in the “Power Pack” program in which backpacks filled with food are given to needy students on Fridays to help feed them over the weekend. (The program was originally called Back Packs for Friday.)

The School District is initiating a new program this year that is similar but seeks to meet students’ social and emotional needs instead of filling their stomachs.

The program is called “Hero Packs.”

Jackson R-2 Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Emmendorfer explained the new program at the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Business breakfast on Friday.

Hero packs are “valuable care packages that are age appropriate” and contain “items such as books, toiletries and other items to meet the basic needs of these students,” says a flyer that was distributed.

“We need your continued support,” Emmendorfer said. The program is 100 percent funded by the community, she explained.

Jackson R-2 will provide the “packs” if community members will provide the items that go in the packs. Items may be dropped off at the Board of Education Office, 614 E. Adams St.

Each pack will include books, toy or entertainment item and toiletries that are age appropriate.

Examples include:

• From birth to 1 year: nesting cups, cloth toys, cloth books, baby lotion, wipes, baby wash, bottle brushes, etc.

• 1 year to 3 years: Toys such as wooden blocks or shape sorters, dolls or small cars, board books, baby lotion, wipes, baby wash, non-fluoride toothpaste, etc.

• Pre-K and kindergarten: LEGOs, blocks, cars, dolls, picture books, story books, underwear, socks, shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes.

• Grades 1-3: Action heroes, dolls, cars, Connect Four, puzzles, outdoor toys, books (Pete the Cat, action heroes, puzzle books), soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, underwear.

• Grades 4-6: Card games, jewelry making kits, outdoor toys, chapter books, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, deodorant.

• Grades 7-12: Games (Jenga, Apples to Apples, cards, Pokémon, etc.), chapter books, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, feminine products, deoderant, shave gel, body spray, laundry detergent).

“The Jackson R-2 School District will continue to focus on serving the whole child, working to ensure the social and emotional needs of our students are being met, as well as their educational needs,” the flyer states.

For more information, contact Merideth Pobst at or call 243-9501.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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