Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor, Crookston, has once again made a donation through the RiverView Foundation to benefit children in the community.

“Here at Happy Joe’s, we love to continue supporting RiverView Health,’’ shared Brooke Panzer, general manager of Crookston’s Happy Joe’s location. “RiverView provides many beneficial services to patients of all ages from our community. Giving to RiverView is a great way for us to give back to our customers. Donating to programs that benefit children is a great way to carry on the legacy of the late Happy Joe Whitty, as he had a love for helping children, and children with special needs.”

Several RiverView programs and many children recently benefitted from the generosity of Happy Joe’s.

Happy Joe’s donation helped make the Baby Sign and Early Literacy Class possible for parents, caregivers, and children ages birth to three. The Baby Sign and Early Literacy class teaches basic baby sign language and literacy skills. Expecting parents, day care providers, and professionals who work with this age range are also welcomed to attend the class. Class participants learn 10 baby signs and literacy skills that help children’s language develop. Each family/caregiver also receives a free board book to take home.

“As a speech-language pathologist and a mother of young children, I want to share my knowledge of language development with other parents and caregivers in this community,’’ shared RiverView Speech Language Pathologist Caitlin LaCoursiere, who teaches the class.

The class is free for attendees thanks to support from the RiverView Foundation and Happy Joes. Baby Sign and Early Literacy is a one-time class held once a month at the Crookston Public Library from 6:30-7:30 pm. Upcoming class dates are: Tuesday, January 6th, Tuesday February 11th, Monday, March 9th, Tuesday, April 7th, and Monday, May 4th.

To register, please call the Community Ed office at 281-5078. Spots are limited and the registration deadline is the Thursday prior to each class date.

Happy Joe’s was also a big part of RiverView Rehab Services’ December Sensory Santa event. Forty-eight people enjoyed pizza donated by Happy Joe’s as they waited for their little ones to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Children also enjoyed decorating cookies, making a craft, hearing a funny story, receiving a book to take home and spending time with friends.

“This was the best year to date,’’ reported Speech-Language Department Coordinator Erin Jore of the Sensory Santa event. “We had 27 kids come and enjoy the night with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The RiverView Team and community came together to support not only these kiddos but also their whole families.’’

For more information on programs through RiverView’s Rehab Services, call 281-9463. For information on programs through the Foundation, call Foundation Director Kent Bruun at 281-9249 or e-mail him at kbruun@riverviewhealth.org.

Kent Bruun of the RiverView Foundation; Brooke Panzer of Happy Joe’s; and Caitlin LaCoursiere of RiverView Health