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Little T’s raises almost $4,000 for The Call with pumpkin painting contest

While most people spent the weekend focusing on Tuesday’s election and attending various campaign rallies, the fun folks over at Little T’s Mini Golf were counting the final votes on who had the best Halloween pumpkin in the Twin Lakes area.

The pumpkin contest, which was created to raise money for The Call in Baxter County, saw the Miller family and their popular Minions pumpkin land first place for the best pumpkin. Mountain Home’s VA CBOC and Arvest followed closely in second and third place.

The pumpkin painting contest and tournament at Little T’s Mini Golf will be back next year.

Almost $4,000 was raised to help foster children in Baxter County, with about $2,500 coming from the pumpkin contest. The rest of the money was made through straight donations from organizations like the Baxter County Animal Clinic.

The rest of the event included fun games and a mini-golf tournament before wrapping the evening up with a balloon ceremony.

The Miller family’s Kevin the Minion won Little T’s pumpkin painting contest last Saturday. Photo by Chris Fulton/MHO.

“I want to thank everybody for participating, not only in today but also the folks that were willing to paint a pumpkin and have some fun for such an amazing call,” said Scott Tavegia of Little T’s Mini Golf. “The Call is tremendous in what they do, and every person can play a part in what we bring to children who need homes. Whether it be a temporary home or a contemporary home.”

The Call is a non-profit organization that mobilizes local churches to serve local children and youth placed in foster care. They provide a way for Christians to invite the mission field into their homes to serve those most vulnerable in their communities.

The Call partners with the Division of Children and Family Services to recruit, train and support foster and adoptive families for children and teens in foster care.

In Baxter County alone, there are currently 47 children in foster care. Sadly, 23 of those children have to be placed outside of Baxter County because of a lack of foster homes.

In Baxter County, 58 churches are currently assisting The Call alongside 13 dedicated families who have taken in many of the community’s foster children.

Foster care is home-like care provided by licensed foster parents and providers for children who cannot live with their parents because they: are unsafe, have special care or treatment needs that their parents are unable to manage, or have other circumstances resulting in their parents or family being unable to care for them.

Placement in foster care is usually temporary and gives families time to make necessary changes so the child can safely live in his or her home and community. Most children in foster care return home to their families, which is called reunification. When children cannot return home, they find permanence through adoption, guardianship, or other means.

Foster children usually do better in foster care than they do in government-run facilities for children. In 2021, there were 1,530 homes that were licensed to be foster homes, with roughly 1,041 of those homes receiving active foster placements.

To become a foster, an Arkansas resident must be 21 years of age and be able to prove that they have a stable home. Both married couples and single adults can apply to become a foster. Homes must have bedrooms large enough to provide each child with a minimum of 50 feet of space.

All household members ages 14 and up must be cleared through the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry. Those 18 and older must be cleared through a State Police Criminal Record Check and a fingerprint-based FBI Criminal Background Check.

All fosters must be able to bear to produce sufficient resources to meet a foster child’s financial, medical, physical, educational, emotional, and shelter needs without relying on state or federal funds.

For more information on fostering, please contact The Call in Baxter County at 870-424-4211. For those wishing to attend a meeting with the Call on fostering a child, the next meeting will be held on Dec. 6.

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