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Character Counts Week is Oct. 21-27

This is an especially good time for everyone to ‘Pay it Forward’

October 7, 2012
Messenger News

Every year, the U.S. president, U.S. Senate and officials around the world proclaim the third week in October Character Counts Week. Last year, 8 million kids in 54 countries participated. No matter what your political or religious affiliation, this event is about the universal values we share. It is the perfect opportunity to highlight the Six Pillars of Character throughout our community by Paying it Forward.

What are we doing in Fort Dodge? Thanks to Trinity Regional Medical Center's community involvement, we are making a difference in our homes, schools, businesses and organizations with Bridging the Gap. This is the third year that we are challenging everyone in Fort Dodge to Pay it Forward during Character Counts Week by making a difference to someone, somewhere.

"Pay It Forward" is a book written by Catherine Ryan Hyde about a young boy's attempt to make the world a better place by paying a favor forward, encouraging others to repay good deeds with new good deeds, creating a chain of positive actions.

The Trinity Regional Medical Center Youth Engagement board of directors is inviting all citizens to participate in the annual Pay it Forward event. How will we be paying it forward this year? Character Counts in Fort Dodge is partnering with the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way to collect items for Bridging the Gap - a new program that has recently received the Governor's Volunteer Award.

Bridging the Gap (BtG)

We are asking all Fort Dodge citizens to make a difference during Character Counts Week 2012 by Paying it Forward with donations that help ensure every child has a bed sleep in, a couch to sit on, and a table to eat at in the Fort Dodge area.

Fact Box

Bridging the Gap needs

Small Items

Bath Towels

Hand Towels



Mattress Pads






Drinking Glasses



Mixing Bowls


Kitchen Gadgets (spatula, slotted spoons, can openers, etc.)

Cookie Sheets

Cake Pans

Muffin Pans

Casserole Dishes

Measuring Cups/Spoons

Coffee Makers

Broom/Dust Pan

Large Items


Love Seat



End Table

Coffee Table

TV Stand

Dining Room Table

Dining Room Chairs


Microwave Stand


Box Spring

Bed Frame

Night Stand


Vacuum Cleaner

Toddler Beds

Crib Mattress

We will be collecting new or gently used items at area businesses throughout the month of October. Look for the signs posted all around town saying: Character Counts in Fort Dodge! Pay it Forward HERE! Schools, businesses and other organizations will be collecting much needed items. Donations will be accepted at the following locations in Fort Dodge through Oct. 23:

Citizens Community Credit Union,

Fort Dodge Ford Toyota,

Friendship Haven,

O'Halloran International,

Trinity Regional Medical Center,

First American Bank,

Northwest Bank,

Hy-Vee Food Store,

Fort Dodge Schools,

St Edmond Catholic Schools and

Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way.

How can you help?

1. Review the care package item list.

2. Let Hy-Vee do the shopping and grab a $5, $10 or $20 bag of needed items and then Hy-Vee will display it until Oct. 23 when all of the donations to Bridging the Gap are picked up at their store.

3. Large item drop-off will be accepted Oct. 16 and 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the old Fareway building. To arrange for large items to be picked up call 573-3170.

4. Donate with cash so needed items can be purchased or used for "Cash for Cribs" since used cribs may not be accepted and each new crib costs $140.

Thanks to all the Fort Dodger's who participate in Pay it Forward during Character Counts Week and Bridging the Gap.

Your positive attitude is contagious. Remember that good character encompasses all aspects of our daily life - youth and adult sports organizations, civic and service organizations, businesses and our faith community.

I invite you to Pay it Forward all year and thank you for choosing to make a difference.

Pam Bunte is the youth engagement coordinator, Trinity Regional Medical Center.



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