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Farmers Bank hands out holiday gifts to givers
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Seven nonprofit organizations received between $200 and $500 last Wednesday at Farmers Bank & Trusts 15th annual Charity Holiday Coffee. They are, from left: Salvation Army, represented by Jane Berg, $500; Golden Belt Humane Society, Bobbi King, $500; Heartland Center for Spirituality, Marcia Berchek, $400; Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired, Sister Corona Bayer, $300; Meals on Wheels, Mary Lou Warren, $200; Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation, Deb Reif, $200; and United Way of Central Kansas, Julie Smith, $200. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune


Farmers Bank & Trust donated $5,400 to local nonprofit organizations this past week, at its 15th annual Charity Holiday Coffee.

The bank branch at 10th and Harrison in Great Bend was packed with area volunteers on Wednesday morning, as names of the organizations were drawn. More than 30 organizations received monetary gifts ranging from $50 to $500. There was also music by the Madrigal Singers of Great Bend High School, refreshments and door prizes. At least one $20 door-prize winner donated the money to the bank’s Light Up a Child’s Life program.

To celebrate the 15th year of this event, the bank also awarded a $500 donation to the organization that brought the most people to the event. The Salvation Army was the recipient, represented by Jane Berg.

"I know this will make a difference in Barton County," Berg said.

Other top recipients were the Golden Belt Humane Society, $500; Heartland Center for Spirituality, $400; Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired, $300; and Meals on Wheels, Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation, and United Way of Central Kansas, $200 each.

A representative from each group came forward to explain how their gift might be used. Deb Reif, with Kans for Kids, noted the foundation helps area families of children fighting cancer by providing some money for expenses. They’ve assisted five families this year.

The human society will use its $500 donation to buy dog food and pay veterinary bills, Director Bobbi King said, while Meals on Wheels will use its $200 donation to help people who aren’t able to pay for their own meals, said spokesman Mary Lou Warren. Julie Smith with United Way of Central Kansas noted her agency helps 19 organizations, which would also share the $200 donation received Wednesday.

Ten other organizations each received $100 through drawings, and all remaining organizations received $50. All of the $100 and $50 wining charities received a matching $50 donation from Farmers Bank stockholder Yvonne Robbins.

The 10 $100 winners were Catholic Social Service; Juvenile Services; Root & Wings; Kansas Sidewinders; Central Kansas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate); Ourselves & Our Families, the Coalition for the Prevention of Child Abuse; Dominican Sisters; Habitat for Humanity; Big Brothers-Big Sisters; and Lasting Life Ministries.

Karesa Harrison with Farmers Bank said this is also the 20th year for Light Up a Child’s Life program. "Giving Trees" at the 10th and Harrison Street bank and the branch at 1612 Main have paper ornaments with the first names of children in the community, along with their ages, clothing sizes and Christmas wishes. Community members can still pick up a name to adopt a child or make a donation at either Farmers Bank and Trust location. All gifts should be returned by Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Volunteers are also welcome to stop by the downtown bank on Main Street to help wrap the gifts, Harrison said. The Pilot Club makes this an annual project, but anyone is welcome to lend a hand.

For more information on Light Up a Child’s Life, call Farmers Bank, 792-2411, or stop by either location.