Committee elects to put its excess reserves to good use by creating one-time grants

Over the years, the Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast has been sufficiently popular that its organizing committee has seen its bank account grow slowly, but steadily.

So when it received a treasury report back in January, the bottom line surprised some on the committee. But more importantly, it inspired one board member to suggest that the group give a significant portion back to the community.

So not only did the group provide several charities and community service organizations free space at the breakfast to advertise how they serve the Newberg and Dundee areas, but invited them to apply for a one-time $1,000 grant.

Last month, the committee awarded a combined $5,171 to A Family Place, Newberg F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service to Humanity), Habitat for Humanity, Love INC and the Pregnancy and Counseling Information Center. by: SUBMITTED - Happy hands - Newberg Foursquare associate pastor Aaron Rouch (right) and a local church          volunteer erect a fence at the Love INC Clearinghouse. The Newberg Mayors' Prayer Breakfast    committee donated $1,121 to fund the project.

“Of the six who came and had tables and displays, five gave us applications,” committee member Lon Fendall said. “They were all good, so we gave exactly the amounts they asked for. That was fun because there was such variety in what they asked for and they were all things that related to their effectiveness or projects.”

The committee gave the local organizations some general guidelines, mainly that the project be of practical benefit to the community, and asked for a quick two- or three-page grant application in the hopes making it a fast process.

With just five to consider, the committee was able to approve all of them at its June 7 board meeting and cut checks shortly thereafter.

Love INC applied for and received $1,121 to replace the fence that stood between its clearing house and the community shelter, which includes a playground for children.

“Part of the fence had fallen down and part was just dry rot,” executive director Polly Siler said. “It came to our attention that we needed to do something about this and I had just been given the application to fill out for the grant. I was looking at what we needed and it was just so obvious that that was it. It was a major blessing.”

Thanks to volunteers from Newberg Church of the Nazarene, which held a week-long community service drive, the fence has already been constructed.

“It was wonderful,” Siler said. “We just thought we were going to be a part of the Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast, which is always good, but for them to say, ‘Hey, we want to help you,’ I thought that was extra special and we have a beautiful fence to show for it. We’ll think of them when we look at our fence.”

Other grants included $1,000 to F.I.S.H. food bank to build a new website, $1,000 to A Family Place to put toward completing its relief nursery in Newberg and $1,055 to Habitat for Humanity, which used the money to purchase new power tools and ladders for its work crews.

Lastly, the Pregnancy Counseling and Information Center was given $996 to purchase cribs and diapers for young mothers.

Executive director Barbara Morley said one of the center’s priorities is to hand out the essentials and that cribs and diapers certainly fall in that category. Unfortunately, due to new regulations that have banned cribs that drop down on one side, the center has been struggling to provide them to its clients.

“Since we had been depending on donations — when families get through with their cribs, they would donate them — all the older cribs had the drop sides,” Morley said. “We have not been able to meet that need now for quite a while, so that was one of the needs we presented. By buying them online through the cheapest routes we can, we can get a basic crib for about $100.”

Morley added that $500 of the grant was used to purchase cribs, with the other half going to a bulk order of diapers, which the center repackages in smaller sizes to distribute to clients.

Not coincidentally, the theme of this year’s breakfast was community service and Fendall said there was a lot of positive feedback for guest speaker and new committee board member Kelly Hagglund.

“Everyone in town knows her and appreciates her and wanted to support her” Fendall said. “We realized if we could have brought someone in from somewhere across the country it probably wouldn’t have been as big as this one was. It was a lot of fun.”

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