By Kathryn Rice

North Star Advocacy Center, Maryville, announced the hiring of Cindy Lemar to fill the position of donations coordinator.

Lemar, a retired Nodaway-Holt fifth grade teacher, had been enjoying her retirement tutoring in St. Joseph and teaching a couple of classes, Fitness Fusion and senior circuit, at the Maryville Community Center, when she received a call from North Star Director Linda Mattson.

Mattson asked her to undertake the part-time, 15-20 hour position, which allows Lemar to continue with her tutoring and exercise classes.

“This fills something in my soul, I didn’t realize was missing,” Lemar said. “I go home tired but it is a good kind of tired.”

Four weeks into the new position, Lemar is organizing the closet at the shelter and the two-car garage filled with donations. She is also receiving training to help with the advocacy activities.

Due to COVID-19, the shelter had stopped housing clients at the facility. A grant had allowed North Star to house clients-in-need at area hotels. This allowed donations to be stuffed into the bedrooms. Now that the shelter is looking to house clients once again, Lemar has been working on organizing those areas.

North Star works collaboratively with The Source, The Ministry Center, Northwest Wellness and Big Brothers Big Sisters; some extra items have been donated to those.

Lemar didn’t realize the scope of the free services offered at the shelter. She was surprised by the immediate needed of certain items. When clients need help; they need help now. And once someone is a client at North Star, they are always a client.

At this time, North Star is not accepting item donations until Lemar has a chance to finish sorting. She is working to consistently organize items so co-workers can find what is needed. However, monetary donations are always welcome. She anticipates North Star will soon be accepting items again. If someone has items they wish to donate, call Lemar at 660.562.2320.

In her free time, Lemar and her husband, Scott, a farmer, have been working and staying on a Missouri River lot they bought with three other couples. They have three grandchildren with number four on the way.

“It’s fulfilling, challenging,” Lemar says about working at North Star. “No two days are ever the same. Atchison, Holt, Nodaway, Gentry and Worth counties are so lucky to have this resource.”

This weekend, North Star Advocacy Center is the beneficiary of the Blood, Sweat and Gears Car and Truck Show, held by Beemer’s Muffler Center and Beemer’s Accessories, 1305 East First Street, Maryville. Registration is at 9 am, Saturday, August 27. The event starts at 10:30 am; awards will be given at 1 pm. To register, call 660.582.2800 or 660.254.4281.

If any organization is interested in holding a fundraiser for North Star or adopting or sponsoring a client, contact Mattson. Sometimes volunteers are needed to assist with clients. For more information, contact Meghann Kosman, victim advocate. Both can be reached at 660.562.2320.

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