For many families in the Ozarks, sending children back to school with a fresh box of crayons or new shoes is tough – or even impossible. That’s where local charitable organizations step in to help, and nine groups who support children and families are getting a boost, thanks to grants from Mercy Clinic’s “Force for Good.”
For the past ten years, Mercy Clinic doctors and co-workers have reached into their own wallets twice each year to help a variety of organizations. Dubbed “Force for Good,” the effort has contributed more than $1.68 million to local nonprofits. This time, the theme is “Heart and Sole,” with the grants benefiting children and families. In this round of grants, Force for Good is awarding a total of $85,600.
- OneSolePurpose, $17,500
OneSolePurpose works to provide new shoes to the nearly 6,000 children in Springfield Public Schools’ Title I elementary programs. In Title I schools, at least 40 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches. The nonprofit’s mission is to restore hope and God-given dignity by providing basic necessities to those in need.
- Cents of Pride, $17,500
Cents of Pride is a program within Springfield Public Schools’ Title I elementaries. Children earn “pride bucks” by making positive choices, which they can spend on items like clothing, shoes and hygiene products. This helps them meet their basic needs while taking responsibility for their behavior and attendance.
- The Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Program, $15,000
Each year, the Salvation Army helps hundreds of local children by providing them with basic school supplies, backpacks, shoes and clothing. Last year, the organization helped more than 1,000 local children in Greene and Christian counties start the school year with the necessary items.
- Diaper Bank of the Ozarks, $4,000
The Diaper Bank of the Ozarks was established in 2012 to keep babies healthy and happy by providing diapers to families in need and education about alternate diapering options that promote health and financial responsibility. It distributes approximately 13,000 diapers to partner agencies across the region each month, and demand is growing.
- Great Circle, $6,600
Formerly Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, Great Circle provides a unique spectrum of behavioral health services to children and families. In Springfield, Great Circle’s campus provides residences and on-site classrooms for 69 children as well as an emergency shelter for homeless youth or children removed from crises. Many of those children arrive with nothing, and this funding will provide welcome bags filled with hygiene items to meet their immediate needs.
- Friends of Operation Us, $6,000
Friends of Operation Us is a community-based, nonprofit initiative to strengthen families by supporting a marriage-friendly culture. This grant money will go specifically to workshops that educate new parents and focus on fathers and their roles in the family.
- Women in Need (WIN) of the Ozarks, $7,500
WIN provides short-term financial help for single, working women in Greene and surrounding counties who find themselves in crisis with nowhere to turn. It is led by a board of 15 professional women who each have a story of need - whether their own or that of a friend or loved one.
- Gift of Hope, $10,000
Gift of Hope works to provide essentials and pathways to independence for families in Taney County. It helps with everything from college scholarships to holiday assistance. This money will go toward its Backpack Club, which sends food home with 850 children each weekend.
- Phelps County Back-to-School Fair, $1,500
A partnership between Mercy Clinic – Rolla and the Lion’s Club, the annual fair provides health screenings and school supplies for 600 area children.