Three McDonough County non-profit organizations are feeling the good VIBE-rations this week, after learning they will soon receive some of $90,000 raised this weekend.
Following Saturday evening's third annual Volunteers Interested in Benefitting Everyone banquet and auction, VIBE President Kassie Courson announced the organization, which raises funds for local nonprofits, particularly social service agencies that have been impacted by funding cuts, raised $90,000 this year, surpassing the goal of $80,000.
Half of the proceeds, $45,000, will be distributed to the Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency Victim Services. The Macomb Kiwanis Club's sack program and YMCA of McDonough County's Nutritious Meal Program will each receive $22,500.
"We have way exceeded what we thought possible, and it shows that people in McDonough County really do take care of their own," said an ecstatic Courson via a phone interview Sunday.
Diane Mayfield, director of the WIRC-Community Action Agency's Victim Services, said her organization will use the majority of the VIBE funding to support its children program, which includes therapy and support for the youngest victims and witnesses of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
"We'll also be spending part of the money to assist clients with setting up a new home if they are leaving the abuser, assistance with rent deposit, that type of thing," Mayfield said. "Whey they leave, sometimes they may only have the clothes on their backs."
According to Mayfield, Victim Services in 2011 served 127 McDonough County individuals affected by domestic violence, which resulted in 153 children also being affected.
"On the sexual assault side, we had 45 in McDonough County, and about half those were children," Mayfield said, "and by children, I mean 17 and under."
Victim Services will also use some of the VIBE funding for educational programming in local school districts.
Mayfield said WIRC-Community Action Agency has lost about 30 percent of its state funding over the past five years.
"Our biggest cut was actually four years ago, when we ended up losing three staff," Mayfield said. "Its gone down since. So this will defiantly help in what we can offer to clients to help be safer. We're blown away by the effort of the community and we'll work very hard to ensure the money is used wisely."
Penny Dobey, director of the YMCA Senior Center, also thanked VIBE and the community.
"It's amazing," she said. "The money will come in very handy. We feel very fortunate and blessed to receive the money from the VIBE organization."
Dobey said the $22,500 earmarked for the Nutritious Meal Program will be partially be used to purchased a "new" used van to make deliveries of the meals it provides to senior citizens who cannot make it to one of the meal sites.
Page 2 of 2 - The YMCA's Nutritious Meal Program serves 160 meals a day in Macomb, Bushnell, Colchester and Blandinsville. Annually, it averages out to 34,000 meals.
"What we do is sort of twofold," Dobey said about the Nutritious Meal Program. "We not only deliver the meals, we're also sometimes the only contact they (seniors) have with someone else throughout the day. So we can alert the caregiver if needed. It's a nice service."
With its VIBE funding the Kiwanis Club sack program, which provides packs of nutritious food for low-income school children to take home on weekends, will be able to expanded assistance to more children in McDonough County school districts.
According to Casey Grant, a member of the Kiwanis Club and director of the sack program, 140 students per week are currently being served. The per-student cost is about $25 per month, or $200 per year.
Courson said VIBE will issue checks to the organizations in January. She also thanked Western Illinois University's Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, which raised over $12,000 for VIBE through its Smokin' Hog event in October.
During Saturday's banquet, VIBE also raised $550 for the Kiwanis Club's Christmas gift program for children in need.