Twelve nonprofit organizations in the Newton area received a combined total of $32,835 in grants from Newton Et Cetera Shop’s Local Giving Fund in May. The awards have been made annually since 2013.
Volunteers Bill Regehr and Junia Schmidt work in the electronics department at Et Cetera Shop.
Et Cetera Shop, a community thrift store, began in 1976 with a mission to benefit the worldwide relief organization Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). MCC works to meet basic human needs by sending food or material goods to regions recovering from war and disasters. Currently MCC has offices in over 50 countries. Much of their work is done in partnership with other groups.
All items sold at Et Cetera Shop are donated used goods, and the majority of work is done by about 240 volunteers.
In 2012, the Et Cetera Shop board began designating ten percent of the store’s yearly profits for local community needs, and setting these aside in a Local Giving Fund. Since then, including this year’s amount, they have donated $74,000 to local nonprofits.
This year’s winners were selected from 28 applying groups. The organizations selected are Angels’ Attic (Moundridge), Agape Resource Center, Bethesda Home (Goessel), Community Playschool Inc., Free Grace Place (Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston), The Giving Garden (Hesston United Methodist Church), Harvey County Special Olympics, Heartland Pregnancy Care Center, New Jerusalem Missions, Secure Care program (Youthville/Ember Hope), Shared Living Program (Prairie View), and St. Matthews Representative Payee Program (St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Newton).
Many of the groups applying for funding emphasized the critical nature grants and donations play in their program.
“Harvey County Special Olympics is run by volunteers and operates on donations, grants, fundraisers and small assessment fees from the athletes to participate,” said Joey Catherine Schmidt, director of HCSO. “This grant will be used for transportation, food, lodging, and assessment fees for families who cannot afford to pay,” Schmidt added.
Board members feel the Local Giving Fund is one of the key ways Et Cetera Shop gives back to the community.
“Et Cetera wouldn’t be able to continue without the support of the many people who donate quality used items, loyal customers who shop here regularly, and volunteers who give generously of their time and energy,” said board member Pat Schmidt. “We feel strongly that sharing our proceeds with other nonprofit groups in our area is right in line with Mennonite Central Committee’s practice of partnering with community organizations in locations around the world.”
The Newton Et Cetera Shop board designates its Local Giving Fund for organizations with legal nonprofit status operating out of Newton, Hesston, Goessel, Moundridge, Whitewater, Elbing, Halstead, or Walton. Eligible groups are invited to watch facebook.com/NewtonEtc for announcements about the application process and deadlines for next year’s Local Giving Fund grants early in 2016.