Albert Lea woman coordinates donations for local students
Published 10:22 am Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Giving comes naturally for an Albert Lea woman, who is using her natural gift to help local students.
Karen Cibert coordinates the delivery of needed back-to-school supplies and snack food for district students.
Cibert, 56, children and youth chairwoman for American Legion Auxiliary Unit 56, said the campaign began in June 2014.
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In the campaign’s first year, it raised $600 for pens, notebooks and backpacks for children, along with 88 pounds of snack food.
Cibert coordinated with Albert Lea Area Schools, which distributed the donations to different elementary schools.
She thanked administrative assistant Heidi Skophammer for coordinating the donations within the district’s elementary schools.
After hearing from district officials how beneficial and appreciated the donations were, Cibert decided to hold the fundraiser again for the 2015-16 school year.
This year’s haul raised 325 pounds of food, with an estimated retail value of $885.
Different snacks were donated, such as pudding, canned fruit, fruit cups, yogurt-covered raisins, graham crackers, trail mixes, Cheez-Its, dried fruit and other snacks.
To date, more than $1,000 has been raised for the 2015-16 school year in the back-to-school fundraiser.
She said coordinating donations allows her to be involved in the community, noting she empathizes with children who have parents struggling with unemployment, underemployment and other difficulties.
“No matter how difficult and tough it is for me, I know it is even more difficult for other people out there,” she said.
Cibert thanked people and local businesses for donating, including Hy-Vee, Market Place Foods, Walmart, Fisher Jewelers, Stadheim Jewelers and A-Best Sew and Vac.
“We do make a difference,” she said.
She said she is glad she has started donating supplies, noting she plans on continuing to coordinate the effort as long as people are willing to donate.
“I found my mission,” she said.
Anyone interested in donating can mail money, food or school supply donations to American Legion Auxiliary, P.O. Box 1056 in Albert Lea.
Cibert uses the cash donations to buy supplies.
Cibert also collects Milk Moola, Box Tops for Education, Labels for Education and pop tabs for students.
Address: Albert Lea
Livelihood: accountant for A-Best Sew and Vac and The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro
Family: Husband of 37 years, Andy; daughter, Heather Garcia; and grandson, Trey Garcia
Interesting fact: Cibert enjoys riding all-terrain vehicles and gardening.