The Lincoln County Community Foundation recently awarded more than $12,000 in grant monies to eight area nonprofits to assist with programs primarily affecting students, pregnant women, needy residents and the area’s homeless population.
The LCCF, established more than a decade ago as a charitable giving service with a goal of recognizing and meeting area needs, is an affiliate of the Foundation For the Carolinas, based in Charlotte.
In early September, the LCCF handed out $12,500 to ComServe, Inc., Crisis Pregnancy Center of Lincoln County, Hesed House of Hope, two Lincoln County YMCA facilities, the North Carolina Symphony Society, Inc., Shining Hope Farms and Speak Up for Children, according to an LCCF press release.
Each of the organizations received between $1,000 and $2,000 apiece.
According to LCCF Chair Rosalind Welder, 15 Lincoln County nonprofits submitted online applications this year, requesting a total of $24,000 in grant monies. However, the LCCF could only fund the needs of roughly half the applicants.
Welder said the 13 county residents who comprise the LCCF board determined the grant recipients “based on the most pressing needs in Lincoln County.”
ComServ, Inc., is set to use the funds to increase the amount of technology located inside classrooms at Lincolnton childcare center A Place to Grow, which cares for children ages infant through pre-K.
The center specifically purchased four iPads and Otter Boxes with their individual donation.
Director Denise Machuga said the facility hoped to use the iPads to pull up pictures, numbers and other items for children who have difficulty communicating — and have to yell — or can’t communicate at all.
“(Sometimes) We can’t tell what it is that they need,” she said.
While center officials have yet to determine the most useful iPad applications for assisting those particular students, they anticipate children using the iPads in the near future to either push a button for “yes” or “no” or tap a picture pertaining to a particular need.
While Medicaid supplies the children with augmented communication devices, Machuga said the expense might not be necessary until kindergarten.
“A larger device may not be appropriate,” she said. “We want to use the iPad as a stepping stone.”
In addition, Machuga noted how implementing new technology at A Place to Grow is vital for keeping up with both curriculum changes and other societal advancements.
Because of Crisis Pregnancy Center’s use of its LCCF grant money, 21 new moms will receive Pack N’ Plays, an enclosed play area where children can both play and sleep.
Facility officials chose the specific item since the company which made baby beds, which the organization purchased with last year’s donated funds, recalled the merchandise, Interim Director Kimberly Johnson said.
In addition, the Pack N’ Plays — purchased as part of the nonprofit’s Hand Up Program — caters to the majority of clients’ “on-the-go” lifestyle.
“All they have to do is fold it up, and a child will always have a bed,” Johnson said.
Through the Hand Up Program, women are awarded points by completing different responsibilities designed to increase self-sufficiency.
Points are handed out for church and school attendance, maintaining a bank account and job and learning Bible verses, among other successful efforts, Johnson said.
Depending on the point value of each accomplishment, a person can acquire certain necessities outside the normal stock of items the center gives clients through church and community donations.
“Items aren’t just handed over, Johnson said. “There has to be accountability before getting them.”
While Shining Hope Farms has property in both Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties, the organization plans to put their recent grant towards helping Lincoln County children with disabilities, the release said. The organization also assists adults with disabilities, according to its website.
The farm maintains a hippotherapy program, which uses horses to improve clients’ health and well-being.
Individuals involved in Shining Hope’s programs typically suffer from brain injuries, autism, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, hypotomia, cerebral palsy and more.
Through the program’s use of a rustic, outdoor environment and client-horse interaction, individuals “find wellness, strength and hope,” the site said.
Children are also the focus of the Sally’s YMCA and Lincoln County YMCA facilities’ grant-spending plans.
While Sally’s YMCA in Denver will be putting $2,000 towards the development of its YSplash program, a seven-day swimming and water safety program for children, the Lincoln County YMCA in Lincolnton will use the money for its annual summer reading program, YReaders.
The program completed its second year in August, helping improve reading scores for rising 1st-3rd graders.
At more than $1,000 per student, the program, which worked with nearly 50 children this time around — double the amount of children from the program’s first year — is costly and requires ample funding.
The county’s abused and neglected children will also have a chance to improve their academic scores and meet additional educational needs through the LCCF’s $1,000 donation to the Academic Advantage Program with Speak Up For Children, the release said.
Lastly, LCCF officials said Hesed House of Hope, the county’s primary facility for homeless individuals, intends to put its recent grant towards facility and area road improvement.
Not only do shelter officials expect to make modifications that will better identify their facility in the community but also rework the design of the roadway leading to it, ultimately providing individuals with better access to Hesed.
For more information on LCCF, visit lincolncounty-cf.org.