Center's staff thanks generous community

As the needs of the Augusta community grow, the Community Caring Center grows with it. The Center is receiving and distributing more  food and providing more services than  in previous years.
The Augusta Community Caring Center is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Augusta Ministerial Alliance.  Augusta households can receive food and assistance with utility bills.  Clothing and household items are provided, as well.  One hundred to 140 boxes of food are sent out each month.
The  Caring Center was built by volunteers  in 1997 at its current location, 208 W. Fourth.  
“We want to thank the community for its support during the holiday season - the clubs, organizations and individuals - all were wonderful,” said Ron Wolf, the Center’s director.
He bragged about the Christmas toy drive for clients’ children.
“It was huge.  We helped 51 families, 103 children with toys provided by the churches in the Ministerial Alliance.”
Wolf explained that the Center has an arrangement through the Kansas Food Bank to pick up donated food items from the Augusta Dillon’s store five days a week and from the local Walmart store, three days a week.  The donated items can include bread, meat, dairy, produce, and canned good, and help keep the Center’s six freezers filled.
Wolf also credited the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers, for collecting donations during their events.
“We’re so blessed.  About the time you think there won’t be enough, God comes through.  We were running short last year and the Letter Carriers delivered over 5,000 pounds of food,” Wolf continued, “We certainly appreciate the food drives sponsored by the local schools and others who stop by with donations.”
Nancy Olson, the Center’s assistant director, credits the “core” volunteers for things running smoothly and efficiently.
“We couldn’t do it without them. They’re here all the time; sorting items, working in the pantry, making the bread runs, doing maintenance around here - everything,” she stated.
Olson, retired longtime Executive Director of The ARC of Butler, knows the value and rewards of volunteering.
“We depend on the ones who are here all the time.    They really enjoy helping.  Even our board president, Virginia Kellogg is a regular volunteer.”
Wolf agreed, “It takes a lot of manpower.  Some days the collection dumpster outside is overflowing and the volunteers spend time sorting.”
The Center routinely shares nice baby and childrens’ items to the Pregnancy Center and the Sunshine Children’s Home.
Wolf and Olson encourage people to volunteer but advise them to contact the Center  in order to receive training and to be assigned to the volunteer schedule.  The two report that it can be fun to volunteer at the Center, along with providing help to others.
“People can help financially, too,” Olson continued, “During the holidays we received cash donations from several people who had received help themselves in the past and now are employed.  They wanted to give back.”
The Community Caring Center has continued to thrive, guided by its spirit of helping others, and the generosity of a community.
The number of neighbors struggling with hunger and poverty is increasing and ever present.  It’s not going away any time soon.  You can make a difference.
• Monetary donations, along with Dillon’s and Walmart gift cards, are accepted.  Make checks payable to Augusta Community Caring Center.
Contact the Augusta Community Caring Center at 316 775 3342.  The Center can be found on Facebook.  Churches that are part of the Augusta Ministerial Alliance can also provide information on the Center.
Residents with an Augusta address can enroll to receive up to four boxes of food per household per year.  Persons living in Butler County can obtain donated clothing and household items.  
The Center is open from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays, and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.