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Weeks of not being useless

Many have done much to lighten burdens

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:40 a.m. CDT

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Across the cover of one of my high school yearbooks are the words, “Where everybody knows your name.”

To some the concept of everyone knowing your business is a huge turn off, but to me it’s a way of life and a feeling of home.

Over the last several months I’ve seen this small area we call home rally around several families to raise money and show support. For the families I know personally, the outpouring of support has been a true blessing.

Three weeks ago, our area was devastated by a flood that I’m sure we will talk about for years to come. Again, the community rallied around those who had lost so much.

Immediately following the flood, individuals began helping family, neighbors, and complete strangers clean up their homes.  Others donated clothes, cleaning products, food, gift cards, and furniture. Some even took people into their homes.

The generosity shown in small communities is unique because it just happens, sometimes with nothing more than compassion for those experiencing a difficult time.

Soon businesses, churches, and organizations began to get involved in the efforts. For instance, Morris Quality Inn housed clothing and toiletry donations and offered discounts on accommodations.  A group of Minooka churches came together to offer assistance with the clean-up of homes in their community.

Operation St. Nick, We Care of Grundy County, and the Community Foundation of Grundy County came together to offer mini grants to the flood victims. Those grants are still available and applications can be picked up at any Standard Bank location, We Care, or downloaded from the Foundation’s website www.cfgrundycounty.com.

Those are just a few of many, many examples of the outpouring of generosity within the community. I’ve heard students at local schools are still raising money for flood victims and many organizations or individuals are stepping up to meet the current needs of families now that the initial clean-up is out of the way.

Last Monday night, the Community Foundation held our annual Donor & Partner Appreciation Night. Attendees heard a wonderful story of a donor’s love of children and her desire to keep her husband’s memory alive.  Through a discussion with the Community Foundation, she was able to use her donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation to make an impact in the lives of 30 families at a local child care center.

Charles Dickens was quoted as saying, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

Lightening someone else’s burden doesn’t always take millions of dollars. Although there are times when giving can be spur-of-the-moment, many times a larger impact can be made with a little planning.

The Community Foundation of Grundy County has the ability to assist you with planned giving and inspired philanthropy — the kind of philanthropy that is thought out and set up to continue impacting your community even after you are gone.

I would encourage anyone interested in planning your gift giving to use the Community Foundation as another resource.  We can be reached at (815) 941-0852.   

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