Loose change helps our special kids

BETWEEN 80 and 100 local children are set to reap "huge" benefits from the appointment of a speech pathologist - thanks to the generosity of fast food chain Subway and its customers.

For Cooma's Monaro Early Intervention Service (MEIS) it means a generous Subway grant of $30,000.

About 12 months ago Subway's 160 NSW stores, including the franchise in Cooma, installed donation boxes - the place where customers drop 5c pieces and other "shrapnel."

It also set up a children's charity, the Lean On Me Foundation, to administer funds raised. In only a short time, the "shrapnel" totalled about $112,000 and franchisees were asked to nominate worthwhile local organisations helping children with disabilities.

Enter Mark and Lucinda George, the Cooma Subway franchisees. They nominated MEIS because of the extraordinary work it performs daily with children across Cooma-Monaro, Snowy River and Bombala shires.

Out of 10 nominations in NSW to Subway for special grants, four were accepted - including MEIS. Other grants were for a playground for autistic children, a minibus and some wheelchairs.

Subway general manager Greg Madigan travelled to Cooma on Thursday to present the $30,000 cheque to MEIS director Rhonda Howie.

And the grant is extremely timely as MEIS has recently acquired a neighbouring house in Hill Street which will be turned into a working facility - and the plan is for it to be used by a speech pathologist.

Acquiring sufficient funds was looming as an issue - until the Subway grant.

Thanking Subway and Mr and Mrs George, Ms Howie said the speech pathologist had the potential to significantly help between 80 and 100 children of all ages.

"It is monumental for this region," she said.

"It's huge."

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