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Charity’s funding not a problem

Staff writer

Jackie Volbrecht thought money would be the wall to halt the progress of Circles of Hope, a program to battle poverty she is helping establish in Marion County.

It turns out fundraising has not been the harrowing struggle she expected.

Volbrecht’s group, Mad About Poverty, raised $6,000 on T-shirt and sweat shirt sales at the Marion County marshmallow roast.

“People didn’t really know what we’re doing, but we were passionate about it,” Volbrecht said of the people who purchased shirts.

Volbrecht said it was former Family and Communities Together Director’s Linda Ogden’s grant-writing skills that created another windfall for the group.

Ogden applied for a grant with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The grant was written to apply to children’s health ventures. Ogden said it was a long shot that they would receive any money.

“Poverty is the most destructive thing to people’s health,” Volbrecht said. “That’s the way she wrote it.”

Mad About Poverty received $7,580 for the grant. It was nearly the perfect amount to pay for the cost Circles of Hope training to be conducted in Hesston, July 11 through 13.

While Volbrecht and Ogden were fastidiously working to secure funds, the cost of establishing a Circles of Hope chapter dropped significantly.

When Volbrecht originally researched Circles, it cost $24,000. It has since dropped to $10,800 for training, materials, and the support the Circles Campaign, based in Ohio, provides. Mad About Poverty can also pay in installments of $2,700. They already have the first two funding segments covered.

“We never let the money issue stop us,” Volbrecht said. “Now I can focus on the program.”

Volbrecht, Marion Presbyterian Church Pastor Jeremiah Lange, and Keith Harder of Hillsboro will attend ally training in Hesston.

Then they will begin recruiting leaders — the people in poverty — mainly through local churches. She will also try to recruit allies, the leaders supporters, in the same fashion.

Soon MAP can start setting up classes for Circles leaders at Marion Presbyterian Church.

“I’m so interested in seeing people’s lives change, number one,” Volbrecht said. “But also, all these people who spent all their time surviving, what will they bring to the community?”

Last modified June 28, 2012

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