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Following up

Angela Benton is thankful for the bits of help she has received since The Chieftain ran a story about her efforts to mow lawns and earn more money for food for her four children.

I thought it would be a good use of this space this week to let you know how the Benton family has been doing since we printed our story. Angela Benton said she has only received one request for mowing due to her continued postings on Twitter (her handle is @nkotb81), but five or so people have contacted her through The Chieftain, offering yardwork or housework.

Additionally, she received a $100 gift card to Price Chopper from an anonymous donor with a Basehor address through The Chieftain’s P.O. Box, as well as a $25 gift card to Price Chopper and another to Dollar General from a different anonymous donor.

One man contacted her and sent her a check, and a fellow parent at Delaware Ridge Elementary provided the family with some food.

The story ran in our Shawnee paper on Wednesday, so people outside of Bonner Springs are offering some help. As of Friday, two people had contacted The Chieftain asking how to send the Bentons some help.

Several people in Bonner have asked me if the family is taking advantage of the free breakfasts and lunches offered for children on weekdays over the summer at Bonner Springs Elementary. Angela says she will take the children there on days that she doesn’t work, but her morning shifts at Home Depot in Shawnee generally prevent her from taking the children to either meal. Her husband’s anxiety issues mean he suffers panic attacks in public, so he also isn’t able to take the kids. The program isn’t able to deliver the meals or make “to go” meals.

Angela told me she would be willing to meet with a volunteer if someone was willing to take the children to BSE for her on the days she works — particularly if there was someone from Delaware Ridge, where the oldest children attend school. She said she could provide the car seat for her 2-year-old son.

If there are any interested volunteers, contact me at editor@bonnersprings.com or 913-232-6511.

Unfortunately, the Bentons were struck by another bit of bad luck shortly after we printed their story. Angela said she climbed in her car one day after work to find that someone had stolen her catalytic converter, the emissions control device attached to the exhaust.

“It was just much louder,” she said. “I thought maybe there was a motorcycle in my car, that’s how loud it was.”

She has also mentioned this in her tweets, though she mistakenly referred to it as a “cadylac” converter.

She has contacted junkyards about a replacement for her minivan, an Oldsmobile Silhouette, but was told it would cost $150, which she says is more than she can spend. She was told she should file a police report, but she hasn’t yet because she says she doesn’t feel the police could really help.

So anyone who was thinking about aiding the Bentons and has automotive knowledge, or any of the local automotive repair shops who might like to help Angela, can contact me, and I will get them in touch with Angela.

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