The Prairie Godmothers group is known for its motto of “Women Helping Women,” and that means women of all ages. To help make it known that senior citizens are included, members were invited to create gift bags for older women Thursday at a Build-A-Bag Beach Party.
Those who participated started with a shopping list “essential items” and an optional list “just for fun.” They brought their items to the Best Western Angus Inn Courtyard and assembled more than 90 gift bags filled with everything from stationery to non-slip socks and shampoo. These will go to ElderCare and to Great Bend Health and Rehabilitation for distribution.
“I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces,” ElderCare Director Brandi Gruber said of the women who will receive bags.
Megan Barfield from the Golden Belt Community Foundation noted that the Godmothers hosts two events each year. In the past, members have donated new underwear for women and children, and gift bags for single mothers.
The nonprofit organization began in 2013.
“The purpose was to improve the health and wellbeing of women in Barton County,” Barfield said. This is done with grants to meet critical needs. There is an advisory board that relies on partner organizations to make referrals. Money is donated by members; there is a fund for granting “wishes” and an endowed fund with the GBCF.
Barfield reported that since the first grant was made in 2014 the group has awarded 86 grants totaling $21,444. So far in 2016 there have been 10 grants totaling almost $3,000.
“That can’t happen without you all,” she told attendees. There were 321 Godmothers going into the event, and several more joined Thursday.
About Prairie Godmothers
Partner agencies to the Prairie Godmothers are: Barton County Emergency Aid Council, Barton County Health Department, Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas, ElderCare Inc., Family Crisis Center, Heart of Kansas Family Healthcare, Central Kansas Dream Center and The Center for Health & Wellness.
According to the March 2015 Prairie Godmothers newsletter, “Wishes” granted in the past have included:
• Deposit & Rent: A woman was living with her family while trying to get a house of her own after delivering her son prematurely and staying out of town while he was in the hospital. She needed help with a deposit and the first month of rent to get into a house of her own.
• Day-care Bill: A woman fell behind on her day-care bill due to being unable to work during the holidays when no one was available to watch her kids. The grant helped pay her past due day-care bill so her children could return to childcare and she could return to work.
• Rent Deposit: A 53-year-old disabled woman had lived with her father her whole life. Her father passed away and she needed to find a new home. Her caretaker found a new place at Cherry Village Apartments, and the grant paid the deposit she did not have.
• Rent: A woman needed help with her rent after suddenly losing her HUD assistance. By helping her pay one month of rent, it allowed the woman time to prepare her finances and budget before HUD assistance returned.
• Dentures: A woman needed dentures due to a car wreck and domestic abuse. Receiving the dentures helped give back some of her dignity and self-worth.
• Electric Bill: A woman needed help paying her electric bill after having to move and make arrangements for her mother’s funeral.