Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Joy Fund exceeds expectations

Smiles galore, food for families and much warmth was provided through The Times Joy Fund. This is due to Times readers who shared their good fortune with those less fortunate. The lists of donations published daily in the newspaper and online are inspiring. The honorariums and memorials are touching.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you
for contributing.

The Times Joy Fund donations totaled $108,310.30, exceeding the $100K goal for 2007. A few additional donations are still trickling in to start next year’s fund. Of the 26 nonprofit projects proposed, 18 were funded. The Salvation Army received $40K for their ongoing campaign to assure homeless and needy children are cared for during the toughest time of the year.

Here is how the outpouring of generosity made a difference:
1. Caddo Council on Aging prepared meals for 1,000 homebound seniors and goody bags for seniors at 11 sites, $2,800.
2. Joy Home for Boys provided shoes for 22 boys and provided a Christmas event, $2,000.
Johnny Gray Jones Regional Shelter purchased Christmas gifts for the youth housed at the shelter who ordinarily would not have a Christmas at all, $1,500.
4. Bossier Council on Aging delivered Christmas stockings to 500 homebound clients, $2,500.
5. Biedenharn Center for Women’s Issues made Christmas better for 12 women and 16 children, $2,000.
6. Community Support Programs provided toys and gifts for abused and neglected children and teenagers, $2,000.
7. Interfaith Pharmacy provided free diabetic supplies – $150 offers a one month’s supply, $3,000.
Community Renewal International assisted 10 coordinators with events at their Friendship Houses in at-risk and low income neighborhoods, $5,000.
9. Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana distributed food to 2,000 senior citizens living in poverty and over 500 children, $5,000.
Volunteers of America provided gifts and basic assistance to 1,200 children and parents, senior citizens and people with disabilities, $16,000
Providence House provided assistance to 65 homeless families and children, $16,000.
12. Martin Luther King Health Center provided laboratory testing for a patient base of 400, $1,500.
Hilman House purchased age-specific gifts for children with cystic fibrosis and will purchase food for families in need, $1,700.
14. Unity in Prayer Outreach Ministries provided help for at-risk children and needy families, $1,480.
Hope Youth Ranch Inc. provided residential services for 69 boys ages 8-17, $1,530.
16. The
Salvation Army provided angel tree gifts for children and helped the homeless and senior citizens with clothing and food, $40,000.30.
Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission provided emergency food, clothing and shelter to homeless men in need, $1,800.
Philadelphia Center served food and bought gifts for children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, $2,500.

Next year, our goal will be $120K, an amount reached in 2006. The additional monies in the 2008 goal may allow more families in area neighborhoods to receive food and toys. We hope to give more to the VOA and Providence House for their large holiday projects too. For those proposals unfunded this year, we are maintaining a file of the requests as we review the agencies closer and work to receive more funding next year.

It is a joy to live in a community filled with so many caring and giving members. Thank you again for blessing those in need.

Photos (top to bottom):
1. Twins Emma and Gracie Ryan, 2, play at the Highland Center Child Development Center. Their mother, Amy Ryan, is a student who works as a teacher's aide and doesn't have money left for Christmas after paying the bills. (Mike Silva/The Times)
2. Curala Dyer, The Salvation Army's local Angel Tree coordinator, shows off one of the "ornaments" from the tree in Pierre Bossier Mall in Bossier City. (Jim Hudelson/The Times)

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