Thirty-six Barton County non-profits received a Christmas bonus Wednesday morning when Farmers Bank and Trust in Great Bend held its 23rd annual Christmas Charity Giveaway. A total of $6,000 was gifted, and none of the charities with representatives present left empty-handed.
Musicians Marc Webster and Amy Hoeffling performed holiday instrumentals as representatives of the numerous charities arrived for coffee and cookies and fellowship. Farmers Bank and Trust Market President Robert Rugan gave opening remarks.
“Our purpose is to recognize all of you, the good work you do in the community and what your organization stands for,” he said. “That really makes Great Bend what it is – a great place to live and a great hometown.”
This is the bank’s 112th year in existence, Rugan said, and like the people assembled in the bank’s lobby that morning, the bank is invested in the community and believes in the people who live and work here. In the 23 years the giveaway has been happening, the bank has given away $122,100.
Holding with tradition, the first three awards were in the amount of $500 (Boy Scouts), $400 (Salvation Army) and $300 (Central Kansas Court Appointed Special Advocate). Representatives from each organization came forward to accept their gift and share how the organization will use it.
The Boy Scouts will provide scholarships for camp to boys in need. The Salvation Army provides many types of emergency assistance for individuals and for kids they provide school backpacks and supplies and free camp opportunities; 88% of money raised locally stays in Barton County. Central Kansas CASA will provide training for CASAs who help children in need of care.
Next up were three awards for $200 each. Two went to Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired and Child Abuse Prevention Education. Prodigal Ministries of Kansas was called, but with no representatives present, they forfeited their award. Instead, $200 went to Live Like Jesus Today Ministries.
Ten $100 awards were given to: Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas, Community Food Bank, Clara Barton Hospital, Central Kansas Dream Center, RSVP and Volunteers in Action, St. Francis Ministries, Rosewood Services Roots and Wings, Golden Belt Home Health, Family Crisis Center and Sunflower Diversified Services. Each of the 10 received an additional $50 courtesy of Yvonne Robbins, wife of Corporate President & CEO WR Robbins. The remaining charities also received $50 contributions from the bank and an Yvonne Robbins match.
Each year, the charity with the highest number of representatives present receives a $200 participation award. St. Francis was the clear winner with 19 people at the event.
In addition to funds donated at this event, bank employees donate through payroll deduction to United Way and bank employees volunteer on many boards and community groups to give back to our community.
“We are so proud of all the opportunities for the bank and employees to invest in our hometown and make it a better place to live” Rugan said.
Keenan memorial presented
The highlight of the morning was when the bank gave a $500 memorial gift to Holy Family School Endowment.
“A longtime director and friend of the bank passed away this year,” Rugan said. “Larry Keenan was very well known in the community, and did a lot of things for a lot of different organizations. He was a director of the bank for 50 years as well, a milestone in itself.”
The bank presented Keenan family members Patty and Tim with a gift, and the contribution to the school. Karen Moeder, principal of Holy Family School, and Father Don Bedore was present to accept the gift on behalf of the school.
“This year we will add this to our endowment, so it will help us to continue providing education at Holy Family School into the future,” Moeder said.
For 28 years, the bank has sponsored Light Up a Child, a program that links people in the community with a child in need at Christmas time. Ornaments on the tree include the name, age, and gender of the child, along with gift ideas.
“This is a great opportunity to help a child in need,” Rugan said.
People can choose an ornament, purchase a gift for the child (wrapped or unwrapped), and return it to the bank by Dec. 11. Employees at the bank will wrap gifts and distribute them to the children in time for Christmas.