BY MARCUS DAY
Moses Barker had an extra special wish for his 8th birthday.
He asked that friends donate to the Assembly of God Church’s KidZone instead of bringing him presents.
It meant that his party at the Maple Creek Skating Rink turned into a festival of giving as donations poured in – everything from food and puzzles to pipe cleaners, a green Halloween hand and items for making costumes.
At about 5.20pm on Monday, March 18, Moses and dad, Darren, arrived outside the church with a truckload of gifts.
There to meet them were KidZone leader, Marlene Packard, and her husband, Garry, church janitor.
“Moses, you are totally awesome,” said Marlene as they gave each other a high five. “I think the world of you.”
Moses helped Marlene, Garry and Darren unload the truck. The donations were taken down to the church basement where KidZone meet every Thursday.
Since arriving in Maple Creek about a year ago from B.C., Moses has been a regular visitor to KidZone.
“I like it – it’s fun,” he said. “There are bouncy castles and snacks. I also meet lots of my friends there.”
About 20 of Moses’s friends turned up for his skating party, the day after his birthday.
What does it feel like being 8?
“I feel taller,” he said.
Moses, a Grade 2 student at Sidney Street School, is certainly standing tall in the eyes of Marlene and Garry.
“You are a champion,” Marlene said.
They embraced again, before father and son had to rush to the rink for skating practice.
Moses plays for the Novice Hawks and is already proving a natural on the ice.
Marlene has been a KidZone leader for about six years.
From September to June, KidZone provides somewhere for Grade 1-5 children to meet (3.30pm to 4.30pm), sing, pray, read Bible stories, play games and enjoy snacks, treats and prizes. A pickup bus is available at Sidney Street School.
“KidZone is free for everybody in the community,” said Marlene. “Sometimes we get as many as 36 kids. I loved being with children. It is my passion.”