Two upcoming public events will kick off a local fundraising effort, with all proceeds benefiting central Kansans with developmental disabilities and delays. The Sunrise Campaign, which helps Sunflower Diversified Services’ clients, has been an annual fund drive for 12 years.
Sunflower serves people in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties; every cent raised stays in these communities.
The campaign will officially begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 with a Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Coffee at the Sunflower manufacturing plant, 8823 Fourth St.; this facility is south of the Great Bend Airport.
On the same day, Chris Cakes will be flipping flapjacks from 4-7 p.m. at the Prince of Peace Parish Center, 4100 Broadway, Great Bend. The $5 tickets for the all-you-can-eat, pancake-and-sausage dinner are available through Sunflower, 620-792-1325.
“This campaign is different from some others,” said Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive director. “It is a more general appeal that meets a variety of needs. For example, the Invest in Kids Club supports children’s needs, but the Sunrise Campaign invites the public to help with the excess costs of all programs.
“A portion of these funds is used for special needs, including home modifications, wheelchairs, dental care and travel expenses for families taking their children to out-of-town specialists,” Johnson added.
Specifically, these categories could include a tooth extraction, adaptive walker for a young child, van-lift repair, ramp access to a family’s home, communication devices and equine therapy through Healing Hearts Ranch.
“There have been cuts in state and local funding for both children and adults,” Johnson said. “The need, however, continues to increase. This is especially true for early education.
“People often believe that tax dollars cover all costs,” Johnson continued. “But Medicaid doesn’t cover such things as dental care, motorized wheelchairs or special adaptations to regular wheelchairs. This campaign also helps make it possible for people to live in their own homes, which they rent from community landlords, rather than in group homes.”
Eighty percent of Sunflower’s clients have their own home, either alone or with one roommate; it is their choice.
In addition, an increasing number of Sunflower individuals are aging because of better health care and the opportunities to live the way they choose, instead of in institutions or segregated housing.
“This means they are more active and involved in community functions,” Johnson said. “Proceeds from this campaign will be a supplement to provide therapeutic and retirement services.
“We have always appreciated the support from residents in our five-county area,” Johnson added. “It is gratifying that they realize the needs are great and all proceeds help their neighbors with disabilities.”
Any business, civic organization or church group that would like to learn how it can become personally involved in this project is encouraged to contact Sunflower.
“We would be happy to make a presentation, guide a tour of our facilities or invite them to a Lunch & Learn session,” Johnson said. “All of us welcome questions about our services and programs.”