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Chaffee woman creates community portal that helps hundreds in need

What started with Dena Milz getting rid of a few items on her porch, evolved into something bigger than she could have ever imagined.
What started as a Chaffee woman getting id of a few items on her porch, turned into a big community effort to help hundreds in need.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 8:12 PM CDT
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CHAFFEE, Mo. (KFVS) - We’ve heard through the years that it takes a village to raise a child.

In Chaffee, Missouri that’s exactly what you’ll find.

“They help us with diapers and everything, and they actually help us with Christmas or anything else we need or moral support if we have any issues,” said Cheyenne Cathey.

Cheyenne Cathey and her husband have two young children.

They are thankful to live in a town where people care so much.

“Things would be a lot different and pile up if we didn’t have the support with the community,” said Cathey.

At the start of the pandemic, when school shut down, Chaffee’s own Dena Milz wanted to help.

“I put some things together for the kids and handed them out,” said Dena Milz.

That’s where she thought it would end.

But, something unusual happened.

Her daughter, Carly was heading back college.

Dena and her husband had a lot of food and other goodies for Carly to take back to school.

“That Sunday morning she left and said she didn’t want any of it,” said Milz. “I was like well what in the world, we have all this cool stuff.”

So, she put a post on social media.

“It said if anyone needs this stuff, Carly didn’t want it,” said Milz. “It’s on my front porch, you can come and get it.”

She said within 20 minutes, two children showed up.

“It done something to me that day,” said Milz. “It broke my heart. I realized then my empty nest wasn’t really a problem, and I needed to quit feeling sorry for myself and my time could be consumed in other ways.”

What started as something small on Dena Milz’s front porch evolved into something bigger than Dena or anyone else could have ever imagined.

“God didn’t let me sleep until I got on board,” said Milz.

Dena, with some help from friends, created the Chaffee Community Care Portal.

“We serve 150 homebound people here in Chaffee that we deliver to,” said Milz.

That’s to help fill a gap on the weekend when families and shut ins aren’t getting a warm meal.

“I would say for most of us it’s been life changing,” said Karry Felty. “That you take the focus off of yourself and you put your time and your energy and money into making sure needs are met.”

They not only serve meals, but host events in the community, hand out diapers, coats, and just try to connect the dots for people by linking them with resources, so no one goes without.

“Every month I worry how are we going to do it, how are we gonna do it,” said Milz. “The numbers grow in the people that need us, and God provides.”

Dena’s passion rubbed off on so many people, and they couldn’t be more grateful.

“It’s extremely fulfilling to see that if you sacrifice a little bit of your time that people are feeling blessed from it and you’ve made their life a little bit better...it’s everything,” said Karry Felty.

Karry Felty is one of the board members for the portal, and serves as the fundraising coordinator.

“It kept getting bigger, and she finally started asking for a little bit of help,” said Felty.

Dena Milz has a couple of day jobs, so she is quite busy and appreciates the extra hands and ideas.

“We just love her (Milz),” said Felty. “She’s leading with her heart.”

For locals like Cheyenne Cathey, who is doing everything she can to make ends meet, “We appreciate it a lot and it’s helped us out probably more than they could even imagine.”

The care portal thrives on volunteers and donations.

Locals who saw a need in their own backyard and didn’t just talk about how they could help, but did something about it.

“It’s a God thing, “said Dena Milz. “It’s community, it’s coming together to meet the needs of those in the community.”

More information about the Chaffee Community Care Portal can be found on their Facebook page, by contacting them at 573-212-0497 or by email.

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