Around The Town

Prairieland United Way Launches Community Wide Holiday Diaper Drive:
Prairieland United Way announces its Holiday Diaper Drive is kicking off on Friday, November 10 and continuing through December 10.

Area businesses are partnering with the United Way to collect items for families and their newborn babies during this holiday season. According to Executive Director Karen Walker, “Twelve % of households in the Prairieland United Way service area live below the state poverty level, and many families are needing help to make ends meet.” Financial Hardship has changed over time in Morgan County. As circumstances change, households may find themselves below or above the ALICE Threshold at different times. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Many families struggle, especially as wages fail to keep pace with the rising cost of household essentials (housing, childcare, food, transportation, and health care).*

According to Sarah English, principal of Early Years Program of JSD #117, “The Early Years 0-3 Home Visiting team realized the need for the resource of diapers during the pandemic. Once returning, we worked hard to try and find a solution within our program as well as partnering with other agencies who can meet this need for families. In the 2023-2024 school year alone (our 0-3 team returned to working with families in July), our program has distributed 4,490 diapers & pull-ups to our home visited as well as community families.”

English says, “In school year 2022-2023, approximately 12,805 were distributed to 0-3 home-visited families and families within the community.”

Several drop off locations are available. Drop off locations include: The Farmers State Bank and Trust Company at 200 W. State St. and 1718 W. Morton Ave.; First National Bank of Arenzville at 1904 S. Main St. and 1839 W. Morton Ave.; CNB Bank & Trust at 1211 W. Morton Ave. and 903 S. Main St.; and Petefish Skiles & Co. Bank at 1342 S. Main St.

The Prairieland United Way works with area partners to distribute the donated diapers and needed hygiene products to families in need.

Prairieland United Way helps more than 35,000 people annually by funding 30 programs. For more information about United Way, please contact Executive Director Karen Walker at 217-245-4557 or stop by the office located at the Jacksonville Municipal Building, 200 W. Douglas, Jacksonville, IL.

Illinois College literary society holds fundraiser for Mia Ware Foundation:
On Oct 28, Phi Alpha Literary society hosted a Beat-A-Car fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. The car was graciously donated and transported by Clint’s Auto. Close to 100 Illinois College students and parents attended the event and kindly donated to breast cancer awareness. All proceeds will be given to the Mia Ware Foundation.

Troop-ons top $800,000:
Veterans Day 2023 marks the third anniversary of a significant project for the Jacksonville Sunrise Rotary Club. In the fall of 2020 club members tried to find ways to live up to the motto of Rotary, which is “service above self.” The country was in lockdown from the pandemic and many organizations were faced with the problem of how to fund raise and do service projects without gathering as a club? One of Sunrise Rotary’s newest members at the time, Jane Becker, proposed a solution. Collect manufacturer’s coupons in collection boxes located in businesses in the community and send them to the families of armed service members on bases throughout the country and the world. No fund-raising needed, no need to gather together as a club, and no expense to those who contribute to the effort. It has been called the Troop-on campaign . . .and the campaign continues.

At the October 17th meeting of the club, Troop-ons coordinator Jane Becker announced that $810, 764.84 worth of manufacturer’s coupons have been collected and sent to Support Our Troops in Daytona, Florida. With each new milestone in this on-going campaign the target goal has been set higher, mostly because of our community’s response to the original appeal. “We can now aspire to a goal that no one thought possible, ” said Becker. “Collecting a million dollars in coupons, for our Vets, seemed like an impossibility three years ago. Now that goal is in sight.”

The club thanks all their community supporters, with a special thank you to the staff and residents at Cedarhurst Jacksonville, for their contributions. Sunrise Rotary/Support Our Troops drop-off boxes are located at: Cedarhurst, Jacksonville Hy-Vee, Production Xpress, Jacksonville AMVETS, Jacksonville Walmart (at the service desk), Jacksonville American Legion, Gordon Jumper CPA, Linda Meece CPA, The Farmers State Banks and Trust Company (State Street location), First National Bank of Arenzville (Morton Avenue branch) and Jacksonville Public Library.

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