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Deb Allen with the JAM Kids; Bake Sale at Peninsula Market | Jane Boursaw Photo

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Peninsula Community Library has fans and supporters from a myriad of generous sources. Donations have poured in, ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to singles and coins dropped into canisters, to help raise the money necessary to design, build and furnish the proposed new library building, scheduled to break ground this fall at the corner of Center Road and Island View on Old Mission Peninsula.

A children’s organization known as JAM has raised money and twice given donations to the library’s Capital Campaign Fund, demonstrating that the kids involved truly care about the future of their library, which has long shared space with their elementary school.

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JAM stands for Jesus and Me, the name of the group that has met weekly after school for some 20 years at Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church, a community of approximately 75 members. The JAM group size hovers around nine to 12 students who attend Old Mission Peninsula School and are transported via the “Cool Bus” every Wednesday afternoon from the school to the church on Center Road.

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JAM Kids | Wendy Warren Photo

Grade levels range from kindergarten to fifth grade, but some who’ve aged up to sixth grade continue to gather and are known as Kids ROCK, or Really Outstanding Christian Kids.

Each week the kids have a lesson, followed by activities such as singing, arts and crafts, and service projects. They often create and send cards and good wishes to people who are shut-in or ill, along with other outreach efforts.

During the Christmas holiday season, the kids venture out to sing good old-fashioned Christmas carols to delighted residents around the Old Mission Peninsula.

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JAM Kids | Wendy Warren Photo

JAM is open to all denominations, as well as those who practice no specific faith. Kids tend to recruit their friends in order to share their enthusiasm for the good done by the group and the friendships that it nurtures. It is led by church members Deb Allen and Wendy Warren, who provide support, guidance and continuity to the group.

In addition to their regular weekly gatherings, the JAM kids also find time to raise money for causes they deem deserving. These enterprising young people sell Mason Jar kits that they assemble, offering two kinds of mixes: brownies and bean soups. These are available around the holiday season. (Editor’s Note: These make the BEST brownies and bean soups ever … jb)

The JAM Kids also host an annual bake sale in the spring at the Peninsula Market, where the market generously provides the space and often some extra baked goods, too. As a more immediate fundraiser, whenever there is a fifth Sunday in a given month, the kids will pass around a metal bucket at the church service to collect coins, or even quiet dollar bills, in an effort called a “noisy offering.” It usually is a pretty lucrative collection.

The young people choose their fund recipients carefully and, in addition to the library, they have included the Cherryland Humane Society and a local Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who carried out disaster relief in Haiti. They usually make their donations twice per year.

Peninsula Community Library Director Vicki Shurly is grateful to all donors to the building effort, but she is always sure to mention the contributions made by these young Peninsula residents who see their role in shaping the community and are willing to put forth the effort to make it happen.

To learn more about Peninsula Community Library and the new building, click here. Donations are always welcome, and naming opportunities are available.

We need your support...

At a time when newspapers across the country are dying in droves, small community newspapers like Old Mission Gazette are the wave of the future. Owners Tim and Jane Boursaw are devoted to the Old Mission Peninsula community, but we need your ongoing support to keep delivering OMP news, history, photos, events and more. We rely on generous reader support to keep doing what we do, and every contribution, big or small, is valuable. Click HERE to support Old Mission Gazette. Thank you!


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