The lobby of Farmers Bank and Trust’s Great Bend branch at 1017 Harrison St. was filled Wednesday morning with representatives from charitable organizations. Close to $6,000 was given away, including gifts from the banks and from Farmers President W.R. (Bill) Robbins and his wife Yvonne, including three $500 gifts from the Robbins Family Donor Trust.
Some of the top recipients spoke briefly about where the bank’s donations will go, causing bank representative Maryln Schumacher to comment, “It’s just so heartwarming to see where this money is used.” She reminded those present that the bank also sponsors a community giving opportunity, known as Light Up A Child’s Christmas.
For Wednesday’s event, W.R. Robbins said the 107-year-old bank has a tradition of giving. Each participating organization was in a drawing for prizes ranging from $500 to $100, and those not drawn received $50. However, he said, “No charity leaves with less than $100.” For those that got $50, Yvonne Robbins was matching that with another $50, he said.
Farmers Bank Marketing President Robert Rugan told the guests, “You give back to the community; we’re happy to give back as well.”
Harp music prior to the drawing was provided by Carole Harris.
• Salvation Army, $500. Dana Walls said the money would be used for charitable services, such as helping people with rent and utilities, providing backpacks with school supplies, a camp for kids and clothing.
• Volunteers in Action, $400. Lynn Hogg said this gift would be earmarked for medical transportation costs so that volunteers may continue to drive people to medical appointments all over Kansas.
• Sunflower Diversified Services, $300. Jim Johnson said the money will be used for Sunflower’s Invest In Kids fund, which provides early education for infants and toddlers.
• $200 each to Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation, Barton County Youth Care Inc. and Lasting Life Ministries.
• $100 each to United Way of Central Kansas, Central Kansas CASA, Emergency Aid, Juvenile Services/Teen Court; Golden Belt Humane Society; Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice; Great Bend Senior Center; Housing Opportunities Inc.; Food Bank; and Family Crisis Center.
• $50 each plus $50 match to up to 13 other organizations. Each organization had to send a representative to be eligible. Those on the list were: Barton County Sheriff’s DARE program Catholic Social Service, Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired, Great Bend Police Office DARE program, Dominican Sisters, Eldercare Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Heartland Center for Spirituality, Meals on Wheels, Prodigal Ministries of Kansas Inc., Root & Wings Foundation and St. Francis Academy.
• $200 to the organization that had the money people present at the drawings: St. Francis Academy.
W.R. Robbins described how three $500 gifts from the Robbins Family Trust will be used:
• To help the Barnard Library at La Crosse do microfilming.
• To help restore the Schnack Express – the little train at Schnack Park in Larned.
• To help the Great Bend Evening Lions club provide a PediaVision camera to Sunflower Diversified Services. The equipment helps assess a child’s vision, and will be used for children from 6 months to 3 years old.