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‘Close-knit’ community

Stratford comes together to help children after mother’s death

-Submitted photo Pictured from left are Bryce, JayLee, Danyel and KayDee McFarland. Danyel McFarland was recently killed in a car crash.

STRATFORD — It may be a cliche that small towns are called “close-knit,” but in the case of Stratford, it’s true.

A few weeks ago, when one of its community members, 41-year-old Danyel McFarland, died in a crash, the rest of the community stepped up to make sure her kids were taken care of and the family could hold a nice funeral for her.

Businesses around town started collection boxes near their registers for donations. A community member organized a “meal chain” for volunteers to cook and deliver a home-cooked dinner to McFarland’s kids each day for several weeks. Kelli Kraus of the Stratford Food Center set up a trust at the Security Savings Bank for the kids.

McFarland left behind three children, 18-year-old KayDee McFarland, and teenagers Bryce McFarland and JayLee McFarland.

Catherine Bergman, a friend of McFarland’s, set up an online GoFundMe page for the funeral expenses. Overnight, the page reached its initial fundraising goal.

“I was just astounded,” Bergman said. “Initially I set the goal at $2,000 because I knew they were doing collection boxes throughout town.”

She then doubled the page’s goal to $4,000, which was met less than a week later. Though Bergman doesn’t plan on raising the goal again, she’s left the page up for people to continue to donating if they wish. That GoFundMe can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/danyel-mcfarland-family-funeral.

Donors can also direct their donations to the McFarland Family Benefit account at Security Savings Bank, 725 Shakespeare Ave., Stratford, IA, 50249.

“The community has been so supportive of Danyel’s children,” Bergman said. “A food train has meals being delivered through mid-August and more ladies making freezer meals so when the kids go back to school they will still have healthy, home-cooked meals.”

Bergman said that while no solid plans have made yet, a benefit fundraiser event is “in the works.”

A celebration of life service for Danyel McFarland will be at 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 901 Moore St., in Stratford. The visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 11, also at the church.

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