A windfall came to the Van Alstyne Friends of the Library, which will be uses by the library for a special outreach program, in the form of a sizeable donation from the Sherman Walmart store.

For ten years, Van Alstyne Library Director Judy Kimzey said the library’s Teen Council has taken a reading and book program to the children staying at a crisis center in Grayson County. The literacy outreach program is called the Jammie Brigade and regularly has the Teen Council going up to the live-in facility in Sherman with milk and cookies, crafts, a story time and free books, Kimzey said. It reaches children of all ages, including teens. And, the library was out of money for this program, so the donation came just in the nick of time.

Walmart’s Debbie Valdez, front end zone manager, presented the check to Arnold and Kimzey at the store Monday. “Our Website (Walmart.com) has a place where non-profits, such as the Friends of the Library, can apply for grants. We prefer to keep our grants local, within the area. Sherman is where everybody comes to shop. We get a lot of traffic here, and lots of customers with kids,” Valdez said.

Valdez, the mother of six boys, said, “Kids are going to be our future, and there are so many children that don’t have access to what they need. This program helps them.”

Barrett said, “The check came at a good time, because we are doing our budget for the next year. And though Walmart is giving us the funds for Van Alstyne, we are reciprocating by using them on children who are from all over the county.”

The Crisis Center shelters people from domestic violence situations and who often have to leave their homes with nothing except the clothes they are wearing, Kimzey said. “We are the only library in the area that does something like this. I give a big shout-out to our teens.”

Kimzey said she has seen the teens mature through these visits, as the Crisis Center entrance has its camera system, and people have to be buzzed through the locked door, for the safety of the residents.

“It’s quite an eye-opener for them,” Kimzey said. “It’s overwhelming, humbling, and it’s good for them. They become absolutely empathetic about those around them, even at their schools.”

The Friends of the Library has as its major fundraiser a breakfast on the first Saturday of every month, inside the Community Center on Preston Street.

Valdez said that the Walmart grant money is available from February through January of each year.