Neighbors raise $182 for WACKY center

By LAURA KEBEDE

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

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It’s not everyday you see a Halloween-themed spider made out of paper towel rolls and a milk jug. The WACKY center strives to make this creativity commonplace, so neighbors teamed up to show their support Saturday.

Neighbors raised $182.27 at a yard sale fundraiser Saturday to provide partial scholarships for children who cannot afford the $7.50 entrance fee for the WACKY center, 515 Hickman Ave. Owner, Erica Leach passed out information about the center and gave tours to shoppers.

“We wanted to show Erica how much we appreciate her,” the organizer of the yard sale fundraiser, Pat Fowler, said.

“Our neighborhood needs a place for parents and kids to have fun,” Sarah K. Taylor, member of the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association and one of the supervisors of the yard sale, said.

“The center is more personal and you can spend quality time with your kids, be one-on-one and use their imagination,” said Hannah Taylor, one of the yard sale helpers.

Fowler said the yard sale attracted people to tour the center who normally wouldn’t.

Bethany Hadley-Winn didn’t know about the WACKY center until Saturday. She came by the yard sale to shop, then came back to give Leach her household recyclables as supplies for the center.

“I’m proud of her for taking this upon herself,” Hadley-Winn said. “It’s such a relief to have a community take care of itself.”

Teacher Ashley Malorin brought her daughter Scout, 9, to see the center Saturday after she took her special needs class there a few weeks ago. Leach was Scout’s former pre-school teacher.

“(Leach) can take things that people think of as junk and make it into something creative,” Malorin said. “When I brought my class here, we were there for one hour. We could’ve been there for five. She took away all limits.”

The WACKY center now features themed days like “Thank-you Thursdays” when children can get 50 cents off admission by bringing in a recyclable item and “WACKY Wednesdays” when admission is reduced to $1.

For more information, call the WACKY center at (573) 449-2259, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. No registration is required. Check out the article on the WACKY center’s opening on the Missourian homepage.

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