TV’s toughest mom is really a softie at heart when it comes to purple prose. The sentiments expressed by the thousands of children in KFC’s “All-American Salute to Mothers” national card contest.

“I’m not really a drill sergeant, I just play one on TV!” said Jane Kaczmarek, best known as Lois on FOX Network’s hit show “Malcolm in the Middle,” and who in real life is the loving mother of Frances and George. “As a parent, I was really drawn to KFC’s program that encourages children to express themselves to their moms through art and language.”

Kaczmarek and the national contest winner will unveil the award-winning card today in Los Angeles. Eleven-year-old Kevin Pilsbury of St. Petersburg, Fla. captured first place in the contest and receives national recognition for his talents by having his card published and sold nationwide by Recycled Paper Greetings¨.

For every card sold, KFC will donate one dollar to Cure Autism Now (CAN). Kaczmarek is actively involved in the fight to cure autism and encouraged KFC to join her in the battle.

“I was thrilled that the company would donate money for each card sold to fight autism,” Kaczmarek said. “We can celebrate moms and help support the thousands of children who are affected by the condition each year.”

KFC’s “All-American Salute to Mothers” national card contest launched in Fall 1999 and was featured in the November issue of Family Circle magazine. As part of the contest, KFC distributed educational kits to elementary schools across the country, which encouraged teachers to recognize mothers through social studies, language arts and art exercises. The curriculum culminated with thousands of fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders creating their own Mother’s Day cards as a part of the contest.

Kevin’s card and the second- and third-place winners are featured in the May 9, 2000 issue of Family Circle magazine, which is currently on sale.

Second place winner Meredith Watson of Columbus, Ohio received $1,500, and third place winner Carson Beyl of Mountsville, Pennsylvania was awarded $750. The seven fourth-place winners Janet Newman of Tucson; Mark Sellon, of Engelwood, California;. Stephanie Lemmon of Apex, North Carolina; Meagan Slendorn of Star, Idaho; Liza Woolston of Brunswick, Missouri; Cari DeCoursey of South Jordan, Utah; and Brittany Forshee of Shepherdsville, Kentucky each were awarded $500 cash prizes.

Winners were named from each state and the District of Columbia, and will receive (along with a teacher of their choice) the Microsoft¨ Encarta¨ Reference Suite 2000, including Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000, Encarta Interactive World Atlas, a free one-year subscription to Encarta Online Deluxe and the new Encarta World English Dictionary. State winners also received an additional Microsoft¨ Encarta¨ Reference Suite 2000 for their teacher, a contest certificate and KFC gift certificate to take their mom out to dinner on Mother’s Day.

With all of Jane Kaczmarek’s experience as a savvy TV and real life mom, KFC thought it was only fitting to deem her the Sergeant of Moms of its “All-American Salute to Mothers” national card contest. The grand prize winning card can be viewed online at

Cure Autism Now (CAN) is an organization of parents, clinicians and scientists dedicated to finding a cure for autism and broadening awareness of a condition that has been virtually ignored for over forty years. Autism affects one in 500 children born every year and is a lifelong neurological disorder that usually strikes some time in the first two years of life, causing severe impairment in language, cognition and communication. It is the third most common developmental disability—more prevalent than multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and childhood cancer—and affects approximately 400,000 individuals in the United States, with healthcare costs of more than $13 billion annually.

News, Kentucky Fried Chicken