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United Way receives $60,000 grant for Growmobile from Jennie-O Turkey Store

WILLMAR — Jennie-O Turkey Store has awarded a $60,000 grant to United Way of West Central Minnesota for the replacement of the Growmobile.

According to a news release, the grant came to United Way through its women's initiative Empower: Women United in Philanthropy. The money will be used to help replace the Growmobile, a refitted RV used to bring pre-school services to children in Kandiyohi County.

Empower works to prepare children for kindergarten and school success. The Growmobile is a major part of that effort. This summer the Growmobile has been visiting nine locations on a daily rotation to provide curriculum and activities based around a weekly bilingual book. The book is given to all participating children at the close of each week.

The Growmobile serves up to 200 children a day.

United Way and Empower had hoped to replace the 1991 RV next year, and the Jennie-O grant will allow that to happen. Any dollars remaining will be applied to Growmobile programing.

"We think the Growmobile is a great program because it takes the learning opportunities directly to children in the area," Pat Solheid, Jennie-O vice president of human resources and administration, said in the news release. "Sometimes transportation can be a barrier for kids to be able to participate in programs, transportation is not an issue with the Growmobile programs."

In addition to the grant to United Way's Empower group, Jennie-O recently gave $18,000 to the Willmar Early Childhood cabinet: that grant will help reach preschool children in the Willmar district that do not have a preschool experience.

For more information about Empower or the Growmobile contact Renee Nolting at 320-235-1050 or go to