The name Valley Grange is almost synonymous with community service and the projects we undertake are done both collectively and individually. Our organization and members believe “We are all like one-winged angels. It is only when we help each other that we can fly.” The Grange’s Declaration of Principles declares, “United by the strong and faithful tie of an agricultural fraternity… we mutually resolve to labor for the good of our Order, our country, and mankind.”
Our work includes recognizing and rewarding those who contribute to our communities. Each year we honor an individual or organization with our “Community Citizen of the Year” Award.
Our preference is to feature “boots on the ground” efforts that sometimes get our hands dirty but always keep us connected to our communities. For over a decade much of our focus has been on children and our schools, but we also find opportunities to support our troops, our seniors and anyone who might need a “hand up.”
Another feature of our community service is that we enlist and encourage the help of folks who aren’t necessarily Grange members. Some assist only with specific projects while others become “almost Grangers” who we can call on for a variety of efforts. We have a group of “blistered finger knitters” who keep us supplied with hats and mittens so we can help three districts (SAD 4, SAD 68, and SAD 41) with an emergency supply for the kids who need them. We’ve also provided lap robes to area nursing facilities thanks those with needles and those who donate yarn. Our ranks of Bookworms include several volunteers who just can’t resist helping us help kids learn to read. We have at least one “friend of the Grange” who has an envelope of Boxtops for Education and aluminum pop tops for me almost every time I see her.
We have several programs that show our support for our troops and Veterans. Check out our Coups for Troops Program as one example. We also collect Teddy Bears for the Sheriff’s Department. These cuddly little guys ride along with deputies and are pressed into service during accidents or domestic abuse situations where a fuzzy friend can help calm a child. Kiddy Ditty Bags are also provided to the County Court House–these bags include quiet activities to amuse and distract children who attend court with a parent.
Another important aspect of our community service is collaboration. We are always anxious to partner with like-minded organizations. The collaboration we are best known for is the GrowME project. We also participate in Project Linus and support Parkman Grange’s Annual SAD 4 Santa Program.
Our signature program is the Words for Thirds Dictionary Project. Since its inception Valley Grange has provided nearly 2000 dictionaries to third graders throughout the area “from Monson to Milo.”
We also like to say, “If you’ve got a passion, we’ve got the place.” We are fortunate to have a nice hall and a network of resources. If you have an idea for helping build strong kids and communities, please let us know!