Intern Stories: Partner Agency Spotlights

Felix's Pantry Coordinators Amy Werner and Kellie Pearson

According to a report in 2022, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it was found that 44.2 million people lived in households that had a difficult time getting enough food to feed everyone. From those families, more than 13 million children were experiencing food insecurity. 

After noticing such a prominent issue, members of the Logansport Community School Corporation partnered with the United Way and Food Finders to help serve these students and their families. 

“Felix’s Pantry is a client-choice food pantry,” Coordinator Amy Werner said. “The pantry began weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in February 2020. It started as a small area at LHS that served LHS students and their families who might be experiencing some food insecurity.”

Werner then partnered with Kellie Pearson to expand the idea of Felix’s Pantry.

“Our eyes were opened during the pandemic when we started providing drive through pantries,” Pearson said. “Amy and I started having conversations with each other about combining our forces and expanding Felix’s Pantry. We met with Mrs. Starkey, The United Way, and Food Finders and they all agreed with our vision. Felix’s Pantry is amazing because there are so many people/agencies that make it possible. It just proves what an amazing community we live in.”

After receiving more funding, the pantry was able to help even more students throughout the district. 

“In January 2021 the pantry was provided with COVID relief money and we were able to provide a drive-thru pantry at various schools throughout the district,” Werner said. “In August 2021 when things had become safer after the pandemic, the pantry grew to serve more families by providing food bags for LHS and LJHS students to take home weekly and providing open hours for families once per month.”


Jason Pearson Volunteering at Felix's Pantry
Jason Pearson volunteering at Felix's Pantry


After continuing this model for a year, the pantry expanded even more.

“In August 2023 we combined it with the Logansport Backpack program and moved the pantry to the pantry at the Academy at LCSC-410 W. Miami,” Werner said. “In this space and with more funding we were able to expand our food offerings and hours. Now we can have open hours once per week and serve all of the families of LCSC.”

When the BackPack Program was created the food insecurity that families faced were less.

“At the time, the BackPack program provided a supplemental breakfast, snack and small meal for the weekends since the students didn’t have breakfast/lunch at school,” Pearson said. “The program served its purpose during that time of need. However, as the many years of that program passed, we started to notice that the BackPacks didn’t seem to be helping those who needed it the most.”

Combining the backpack program with Felix’s Pantry gave families in the community more options.

“Families are now able to choose the foods that they need for their households versus having a set menu of items that were sent home weekly,” Werner said. “Families are also able to get meat, produce, and milk from the pantry and those perishable items we were not able to offer with the backpack program.”

Werner adds that without the help from United Way, this program would not be successful. 

“We are a partner agency with the United Way,” Werner said. “Their funding is 90% of how we can purchase food to give out to our families.”

In the past few months, there has been a substantial amount of families in the community benefiting from the pantry. 

“Last semester we served over 333 families,” Werner said. “That is 1422 individuals. [To sign up] a family just needs to show up to our open hours and we will get them registered. Then they can visit our pantry weekly. If there is an immediate need for food or a food emergency, they can contact their building principal or they can reach out directly to Kellie or I.”

Story by: Kylee Langley, Logansport High School Senior & United Way of Cass County Intern

Photos by: Felix's Pantry


Boy ScoutAccording to legend, in the winter of 1909, W.D. Boyce, an American newspaper man and entrepreneur, was lost on a foggy street in London. An unknown Scout came to his aid and helped guide him back to his destination. The boy then refused Boyce’s tip, explaining that he was merely doing his duty as a Boy Scout. It is said that immediately afterward, Boyce met with General Robery Baden-Powell, who was the head of the Boy Scout Association at that time. Boyce then returned to America and four months later founded the Boy Scouts of America in February of 1910.

While being a nationwide program, Cass County has established a local Cub Scout and Scouts BSA program.

“Our Cub Scouts program and our Scout BSA program are two flagshipped programs that we have in scouting,” Bryon Haverstick, COO of Boy Scouts Sagamore Council said. “Cub Scouts serves boys and girls in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Our Scouts BSA is co-ed as well. It serves 6th grade and beyond.”

The Scouting programs utilize over 113 years of youth development expertise to provide educational curriculum and youth development activities to help achieve certain values. 

“Cub Scouts is a program where youth develop the foundations for leadership, citizenship, and personal fitness through fun activities involving parents and legal guardians,” CEO Alan Parks said. “Ideally dens are organized by grade.”

The more traditional Boys Scout program is known as Scouts BSA. 

“The traditional Scouting program, Scouts BSA is where youth develop outdoor survival skills, self-confidence, and ethics through youth planned activities with increased attention to service, community engagement, and leadership,” Parks said. 

Although there are multiple programs within the Boys Scouts, there is a common goal. 

“Our goal is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law,” Parks said. 

While learning about the values of Scout Oath and Scout Law, members are also encouraged and expected to try their best and have a good time. 

“We’re all about encouraging boys and girls to make friends, be helpful to others, and do their very best no matter the outcome,” Parks said. “With the help of powerful learning projects and exciting outdoor activities, we aim to teach children that doing their best can be a fun and rewarding experience- no matter the difficulty of the challenge.”  

Scouting Activity


The United Way supports the Boys Scouts through funding for their Healthy Lifestyles and STEM programs interwoven into their core programs.

“They are interwoven into our currently established programs,” Haverstick said. “If you look at our Cub Scout curriculum and if you look at our Scouts BSA curriculum you will find STEM programming throughout and you will find healthy lifestyle type programming throughout. Knowing that the United Way won't necessarily fund the organization as they will the programs that we do, we find ways to ensure that our programming is aligning with what our United Way is looking for.”

By providing funds for these programs, the Boy Scouts is able to continue to serve the community. 

“The United Way is a trusted and respected organization in our community,” Parks said. “Their support provides us funding and credibility to serve youth and families through our programs. Specifically, we have full time staff dedicated to Cass County, we provide program resources that help young people make healthy choices related to nutrition and keeping their bodies in great shape. In addition, our programs provide opportunities for young people to learn and experience STEM activities that include conservation, physics, structural engineering and much more. Because of the United Way, we are also able to provide Scouting to families that can’t afford the full costs of the program.”

Due to everything the Boy Scouts offer, families are continuing to benefit in many ways.

“Parents want something different from our program than kids do,” Haverstick said. “Parents want their children to learn life skills and have their character develop, prepare them for the future and teach them to be good leaders and those kinds of things. Kids want to have fun with their friends. There has never been a kid that has joined our program that I can imagine, joined our program because they want to have their character developed. They want to go camping, swimming, and earn badges. They want to go to camp and do all those fun things. We provide the programmatic opportunity for kids to enjoy the experience with their friends, while still delivering on the outcomes that parents want from the program. Our goal is to develop young boys and girls so they are prepared for the future in front of them.

Story by: Kylee Langley, Logansport High School Senior & United Way of Cass County Intern

Photos by: Boy Scouts

According to the University of Connecticut, nearly 90% of a child’s neural pathways, or brain connections, are established by the time the child is six years old. Children who have abundant opportunities to interact with language and literacy from infancy to early elementary school are more likely to develop into skilled and fluent readers. 

A program that supports the idea of early introduction to literacy is the Cass County Reading Railroad. The Cass County Reading Railroad offers four different programs that all encourage and support parents as their child begins school and is introduced to the idea of reading. 

“By eliminating barriers and providing these extra supports early on in a student’s educational career, Reading Railroad can help improve early childhood literacy within Cass County,” Karli Armstrong said. “This can then lead to better long-term outcomes for those children, as well as better economic outcomes for our community.”

One of the four programs offered is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This program provides an age-appropriate book to Cass County children each month from birth to the age of five.

“Getting a new book in the mail is something we look forward to every month,” parent Riley Schlosser said. “This amazing program is allowing us to build our kids book collection and teach them the importance of reading. There’s never a bad time to pull out a book and read to your kids, even out at dinner.”

Imagination Library recipient

By being a part of this program, parents have noticed great benefits.

“We love this program because it has helped Naomi’s language development, excitement for reading, and that there’s also parent engagement,” parent Diana Bernal said. “Naomi enjoys each and every book. Another thing I enjoy about the program is receiving bilingual books. I love being able to read to Naomi in Spanish. This is a great way she can stay fluent in both languages.”

Another program that the Reading Railroad offers is Begindergarten™. This program is a 90 hour summer program that helps children prepare to enter kindergarten. When registering for kindergarten children, children who are identified as in need of additional skills and instruction are invited to attend this summer program. 

“One thing about Begindergarten™ that I will mention is that it not only helps kids prepare to enter school ready in an academic sense, but it also helps them know the structure of school and also how to engage with their peers,” Armstrong said. “We often get kids who have little to no experience in preschool, so this is a good opportunity for them to get acclimated with the school setting. We also get feedback from parents that the program helped them as a parent prepare for their child to go off to school.”

The final two programs that United Way supports through the Reading Railroad are the Business Partner Program and First Grade Library Visits. Both of these programs are through the Cass County schools. The Business Partner Program pairs a local volunteer with one of 87 PreK through 2nd grade classrooms in one of the four area schools: Caston, Lewis Cass, Logansport, and Pioneer. The volunteer then visits the classroom once a month and reads a Reading Railroad provided book. The First Grade Library Visits is a program where first graders from Logansport and Lewis Cass Schools are taken to their public library each month and are able to learn about the library and reading. 

By the Reading Railroad being an internal initiative within United Way of Cass County the community has benefited greatly. 

“Reading Railroad eliminates a lot of barriers to accessing early childhood literacy resources,” Armstrong said. “Our investment and partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps get more books into homes, so that children can build their home libraries for free. It also encourages parents to read with their kids.”

Story by: Kylee Langley, Logansport High School Senior & United Way of Cass County Intern