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“And the winner is…” — Great Fundraising Challenge results!

19 May

It was close, but:  Christian Help is the winner of the Great Fundraising Challenge!  Thanks in large part to many long-time supporters who suggested to friends and family that they get to know what we do and offer a gift of support, we received more donations from first-time donors than our “competitor” in this challenge (and sister agency), ABLE Families

That means we’re the recipient of a gift of $4,000 from one generous donor,  and another gift of $4,000 from another generous donor.  Our grateful thanks to both supporters! 

It also means the ABLE Families staff will be working at our place for a day.  We’ll enjoy having them around!

Thanks also to the new donors who made our ‘win’ possible, as well as the long-time supporters who pointed us out to them!

Important funding for Transit

3 Feb

Here’s some good news for a lot of folks in our part of the world. Christian Help of Mingo County has been awarded important grant funding from not one but two regional foundations recently.

The Logan Healthcare Foundation has awarded the agency $50,000. An additional $15,000 was presented by the McDonough Foundation. Both grants are to support our free transit service during 2011.

As our friends and supporters know, the transit service takes hundreds of people every month to doctors’ appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, and more. Many passengers who use the service are either elderly or disabled.
 
2010 was the busiest year for this service since it was introduced ten years ago. It provided over 10,000 passenger rides during the year, and the agency’s three vans together travelled over 100,000 miles.
 
A few days ago, I posted some photos from a local holler. As I said, travelling these hollers is not easy even if you have reliable transportation. If you don’t, it’s almost impossible. That’s what makes Christian Help’s transit service so important to the people we serve.
The new grants will cover about half of expenses budgeted for the service during 2011. Some of the remainder is provided by state funding, and the rest must come from gifts from individual donors.

Important Support for Christian Help Programs

1 Nov

Today I received notification that Christian Help has been awarded two grants from Americans Helping Americans, an extraordinary organization working to eliminate poverty and build communities in many areas of the country.  

This important funding will include $10,000 to help provide dental care for the people we serve, and $5,000 for utility assistance.  That’s going to help a lot of low-income people in northern Mingo County have a great-looking smile, and (if they need something to smile about) also keep their homes well-heated this winter.  

Our warm thanks to Americans Helping Americans.  Christian Help has collaborated with this organization in the past, and we enjoy a good working relationship with their staff.

From Mingo County Commission: important funding and strong words of praise and support

18 Aug

I wish you, our Christian Help friends and supporters, could have been present at the regular meeting of the Mingo County Commission this morning, in Williamson, WV, our county seat.  I’d asked to be on the agenda of that meeting, to request funding from the Commission for Christian Help’s Transit Program. 

As I explained to the Commissioners, the Transit Program is funded by significant grants from the Logan Healthcare Foundation and the WV Division of Public Transit.  Once those funds are depleted, we budget to spend some of our private donations to finish out the year.  A harsh winter combined with a very high increase in electricity rates led to an onslaught in requests for help with utility bills throughout the spring.  (In April 2009, we spent around $4,000 in help with utility bills.  In April 2010, we spent over $14,000.) 

So some of the money that we’d earmarked for transit was spent on financial aid.  I requested $3,000 from the Commission to help fund the Transit during the final months of the year. 

The next part is where I’d have liked you to have been present.  The County Commissioners could not say enough good things about Christian Help over the next few minutes.  In particular, they commented several times on the extraordinary service that our agency offered to people during the difficult winter.  They were aware of the troubles caused by the spike in electricity rates, and they commented that many people were unable to find much relief at all from government agencies designed for this purpose. 

“Christian Help really stepped up to help out a whole lot of people in our county during that hard time,” said Commissioner Smith.  “They’re to be commended.”

Following this encouraging discussion, the Commissioners chose to give Christian Help $5,000 ($2,000 more than I had requested!) in funding for Transit. 

The Commission’s grants administrator and emergency management official, both of whom were sitting nearby and who attend each meeting, both expressed to me how unusual that is.  It’s far more common that an organization might get less than they’d requested, and only after the Commissioners had “made ’em sweat” through some questioning.

Clearly, the County Commissioners hold Christian Help of Mingo County in high regard.  I was moved and humbled by it this morning, and wanted very much to share it with you.

Major funding for Christian Help Transit Service

10 Jan

Help Transit Service has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Logan Healthcare Foundation. 

Since 2000, Christian Help has been offering the free transit service to low-income residents of Mingo County.  We have 2 vans out every day and a full-time dispatcher making appointments and working out the daily schedule for both drivers.   Until 2008, there was no public transportation system in Mingo County.  Our system remains the only on-demand transit in the county. 

The people we serve typically need rides to doctors appointments, pharmacies, local government offices, and the grocery store.    This generous grant will help us help a whole lot of people. 

That’s Sr. Brendan with John Christodoulou of the Logan Healthcare Foundation, surrounded by our transit van drivers, in the photo.