by Don Basista
In 1991 the first Children First! Fair was held in the parking lot of the Target Store in Grand Rapids with Mary Kosak and Mary Jo Jess being the coordinators. The following year it was moved to the Grand Rapids Civic Center Arena. The mission statement of Children First! is to mobilize communities to actively educate, nurture, and care for all children in Itasca County.
This year was the 17th Annual Children’s Fair held at the Civic Center Arena with displays from the educational, medical, business communities, law enforcement, media, faith community, teens, seniors, retirees and social services, with 3,000-plus families attending.
And again this year, since 2000, the Grand Rapids Noon Kiwanis Club members had help from Grand Rapids and Greenway High Schools Key Club students and ICC Circle K students preparing and serving 825 breakfasts that were served in the upstairs lobby. Kiwanis Past President Dan Chase said, “On behalf of the Kiwanis Club members and volunteers who prepared and served the breakfasts, we wish to thank the Blandin Foundation and families that had our free breakfast. Since it began, Children First! is funded by the Blandin Foundation.”
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