Barton County received $45,158.00 in grant dollars through Kansas-based initiatives. The four funding opportunities will help multiple agencies, making Barton County and surrounding areas more responsive to local citizens.
Sue Cooper, Barton County Grant Coordinator, said that each grant was a one-time award and no match is required. She added that the opportunity provided by the Kansas Health Foundation, Midwest Energy and Wal-Mart is greatly appreciated.
The $45,158 in planned projects and activities will reach beyond Barton County’s borders and touch the lives of youth through senior citizens.
Meal Prep and Food Delivery – The Kansas Health Foundation Healthy Community Initiative Health Equity has provided $18,908 that will go to the Great Bend Senior Center. Cooper said that the Senior Center was a perfect fit for this mini-grant as it prepares meals for on-site consumption as well as for Meals on Wheels. The funding, which will be used for refrigeration, freezers, shelving, and preparation areas, comes as a direct response to resident voices in relation to the COVID-19 increase in demand for meal preparation and delivery services for the elderly in Great Bend, Hoisington, Ellinwood, and La Crosse.
In addition to the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels, Eldercare will benefit from the funds. Cooper added that Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization that provides a hot, well-balanced meal to persons age 60 and over who are unable, due to age, physical, or mental condition or infirmity to shop, or prepare meals for themselves.
COVID 19 Safety Response – The Kansas Health Foundation Impact & Capacity Grant provided Barton County with a much-needed $25,000 for COVID-19 response and recovery activities that create safety nets for the general public and vulnerable populations. Needs include protective glass, security measures, and unreimbursed postage for civic mailings.
Kenny Schremmer, Barton County Commission Chairman, expressed his appreciation to the Kansas Health Foundation for both the funding and the opportunity. “Having the ability to use grants for expenses related to the protection of citizens and employees during this trying time is a tremendous benefit to Barton County and its citizens. The protection of our citizenry on behalf of the Kansas Health Foundation is profound.”
Healthy Choices – From the Midwest Energy Community Fund, this $500 grant will be used by the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services Department to help support healthy and safe environments for children and to educate students, parents, and families on the dangers of substance abuse.
Prevention education and resource sharing empowers people to make healthy choices and to build healthy relationships said Marissa Woodmansee, Juvenile Services Director.
Using a directed and cooperative approach with Central Kansas Community Corrections, the Barton County Health Department and area law enforcement, this funding will be used for prevention campaigns and community awareness. The existing partnerships with juveniles, family, educators, law enforcement and mental and physical health professional will collaborate with Juvenile Services to craft unique messaging utilizing this vital community funding source.
Woodmansee added that the 20th Judicial Juvenile Services Department is comprised of Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford Counties.
COVID 19 Response and Recovery – With funding from the Wal-Mart Community Grant, Barton County will complement public safety efforts. The $750 grant is a great match to such efforts as Courthouse door security. In late March, one security guard was deployed to the Courthouse doors to provide direction to citizens as necessary when the Courthouse was closed to the public. When the Courthouse reopened, two security guards were utilized. The guards take temperatures and give a COVID questionnaire to citizens wishing to enter the building. These procedures are an effective method for protecting County, Court and State personnel, as well as citizens.