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story.lead_photo.caption Rising Sun 4-H Club members received a $500 grant to upgrade a playground at Central Christian Church in Fulton. Photo by Submitted

A $500 grant from FCS Financial will give local children a nicer place to play.

A panel of judges approved Rising Sun 4-H Club in Callaway County to received a $500 Shaping Rural Missouri grant to update and improve the Central Christian Church playground.

"We've always met at the church and the children use the playground there," 4-H leader Leah Baker said. "It's a grant for 4-H or FFA members to do something in the community.

FCS Financial awarded 44 different 4-H clubs and FFA chapters with $500 grants for submitting outstanding Shaping Rural Missouri grant applications.

"We got one last year and planted flowers at the (community) free store, and we planted fruit trees out at SERVE," Baker said.

She added club members will decide at their meeting this month when to do the project, but most likely, in June or July, they will be adding mulch and upgrading the structure at the church playground.

In the eight years of its existence, more than $120,000 has been awarded by FCS to Missouri 4-H clubs and FFA chapters. Grants are awarded to organizations with plans to complete a community improvement project by the end of the year.

"Community development in rural Missouri is very important to FCS Financial. Our member-owners and staff live in rural communities across Missouri," said Scott Gardner, vice president of sales and marketing. "These grants not only strengthen our rural communities but allow our youth to work as a team to accomplish a worthy goal."

FCS Financial serves 102 counties through 21 offices in Missouri. FCS Financial is a member of the Farm Credit System. The system is a nationwide network of cooperative lending institutions that provides credit and financial services to farmers, ranchers, rural residents and agribusinesses. With 100 years of agricultural lending experience, the Farm Credit System is the largest single provider of agricultural credit in the United States.

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