Tammy Komm, a seventh grader at Thayer Middle School is working with a class from Missouri State University in West Plains to collect non-perishable food and toiletries to benefit the Samaritan Out Reach Center and Christos House,
During the month of April, any donation made will be matched dollar per item and cash donations will be matched dollar for dollar through a grant.
One of the reasons the teenager has become involved in the food drive is because her life, even as young as she is, has not been a bed of roses. She has experienced homelessness and knows first hand what it is like not to have a home or food.
MSU Academic Out Reach Coordinator Deanna Smith invited Komm to speak to her college class recently. Smith is also the instructor for the public affair issues of the 21st Century class.
Smith said in her class many speakers come and speak to the students during the semester. She said the topic of her class is "Homelessness in America."
This is why Komm was invited to speak to the class.
"I was able to tell the students my experience as a child living in tents, cars and even hotels," Komm said.
Smith said her students were better able to understand what it is like for a young child not to attend school for long periods of time.
Komm also expressed to the college students the importance of staying drug-free since drugs played a large roll in why her family was in the situation it was in. Komm is from out-of-state and was brought to Missouri two years ago by her adoptive family after living in foster care off and on during her life.
Komms life may have started out rough, but she is a true success story. The Komm family found her through Adopt America Network, an agency who helps find families for children ready for adoption.
Komm is a typical 13-year old in many ways. She plays on the Junior High Bobcat Volleyball team, and enjoys the drama and book club at school. She also excels in her school work.
"She has a great attitude and a strong will to over come her past and make a better life for herself," said her adoptive parents, Fred and Dionne Komm and brother Nick.
In February 2006 the adoption was finalized and both the Komms and Tammy agree it was one of the happiest days of their life.
Donations of non-perishable food items and toiletries may be dropped off at the South Missourian News office located at 109 Chestnut Street in Thayer. Office hours are Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Donations may also be dropped off at Samaritan Out Reach Center or at the Christo's House, both in West Plains.