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Community foundation announces grant awards to food pantries

Thanks to the generosity of the Olive B. Cole Foundation and many local donors, the LaGrange County Community Foundation (LCCF) Board of Directors has announced that it will proactively award five organizations a total of $20,510 as part of the foundation’s “We Give Thanks” matching program to support local food distributions.

Over the holidays, the board offered to match local donations to the LCCF Good Samaritan Fund “dollar-for-dollar” up to a maximum match of $10,000. As in past Good Samaritan campaigns, local donors, still deeply concerned about the welfare of families hit hard by continuing unemployment, stepped up to the challenge and exceeded the maximum. According to the Department of Workforce Development, unemployment during the Christmas month in LaGrange County was measured at 9.4 percent.

Organizations who will receive grants this winter include the Clothes and Food Basket in LaGrange, the Lima-Scott Food Pantry at the Scott United Methodist Church, the Topeka Ministerial Association’s Christ’s Community Cupboard, Community Harvest’s LaGrange County Farm Wagon distributions at the town park and the Church of Christ in LaGrange, and the LaGrange County Council on Aging’s Senior Mart and Senior Pak programs.

Based upon data collected by LCCF staff in the course of research for the “We Give Thanks” distribution, in 2011 these five organizations distributed in total an average of 36,822 meals to local residents per month. This follows on the heels of an announcement by the U.S. Census Bureau in late November that the poverty rate in LaGrange County was over 16 percent. That is double the poverty rate of the county a decade ago.