Gibson Grants at Work

Ride Solution

Sometimes we take for granted the many organizations in Gibson County that work to bring a better quality of life to the people of Gibson County. Each of these organizations has dedicated people working long hours to achieve a mission to serve a segment of the population.  Ride Solution is one of those organizations that offers a hand in meeting a need for many.

Ride Solution is on call to provide low cost transportation for people who have no reliable transportation otherwise. They provide transportation for those who need help to get to medical appointments, grocery and pharmacy visits, and according to Ride Solutions Director, Becky Guthrie, “We even to take some elderly folks to visit their spouse in a nursing home.”

The number one use of the service is to provide transportation to work. Many of us take for granted that our car will start, and run reliably to get us to work on time, but others are not as fortunate. Without this service, The clients utilizing Ride Solutions would be unemployed as they would not be able to travel to their jobs.  The rate structure is set to allow service based income for each trip, with the understanding that supplemental income is needed to sustain the program.  The rates are $2 for an in-town trip, $4 for an in-county trip, and $6 for a county to county trip.  They even have a fee structure allowing multiple stops.  For example if an individual has multiple stops in town such as a medical appointment and a pharmacy, they charge $2 for the first stop and $1 for each additional stop.

Ride Solution made 26,975 trips in 2011. To support this impressive number of service, they have 3 dispatchers on duty at all times and well trained drivers in the vehicles.  They have a variety of transport vehicles available to accommodate the needs of all clients.  Our riders include young children, as well as patients with disabilities, who rely on wheel chairs and scooters.  and according to the director, “We are looking right now for qualified drivers to help support the ridership.  Give us a call if you are interested.”

Becky Guthrie says, “While funding has been made available from state agencies, 20% to 50% funding must come from local sources.” “The cost of vehicles, fuel, upkeep, personnel, and general operating expenses is always on the increase, and grants from organizations such as the Gibson County Community Foundation help so much. And individual donations help too and keeps this service going in our area.”

For more information about the services offered, or to make a donation to Ride Solution, call 877-369-8899  toll free, or visit www.ridesolution.org.

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The Salvation Army

Many of us know The Salvation Army as the “bell-ringers” of Christmas. They are standing outside of stores and businesses in all types of weather, ringing their bells, and asking for donations.  Little do we know of the many projects and missions that the Salvation Army tackles throughout the year with the only income being from these red kettles and grants and gifts from individuals and organizations such as the Gibson County Community Foundation.

Lt. Jonathon Cooper and his wife, Lt. Chrissy Cooper lead the army of volunteers in Gibson County. Lt. Cooper says, “We only have 1 part time paid employee besides myself and my wife”.  All donation money goes to their good works and all of it stays in Gibson and Pike Counties which are included in their territory.  The Gibson County Community Foundation made a sizeable grant to their building fund 13 years ago which helped to build their current building on Gibson St. in Princeton and continues to grant them money each year for their “Tools for Schools” program.

“Tools for Schools” begins each year with Lt. Cooper contacting the schools in Gibson and Pike Counties and asking for lists of school supplies needed by each class from kindergarten to 12th grade. Next, backpacks are ordered wholesale to keep the cost low.  Now the volunteers take the lists to a local store and purchase the supplies which are then separated into school, class, and age as needed by the army of volunteers.  Lt. Cooper states, “We always buy locally so that the money we spend stays in our economy rather than go outside of the county.”  The next step is to stuff the backpacks and prepare them for distribution.  On average, 400 backpacks, each with about $25 of school supplies are prepared with an additional 100 to 150 prepared for Pike County schools.  Lt. Cooper says, “If money is available, we have had as many as 600 backpacks to hand out, but we are limited by the amount of the donations during the year.  There is no income requirement for a child to receive a backpack, only proof that the child belongs to the adult that accompanies him or her to the Salvation Army to pick it up.”

In addition to the “Tools for Schools” program, the Salvation Army gave out 30,000 lbs of food this past year along with formula, diapers, and other necessities. All of these items are donated or purchased with money granted, donated or collected during their red kettle drive which starts this year at midnight on Nov 23rd and runs through mid day on Christmas Eve.  During this time, the goal is to collect $105,000 dollars which is about 1/3 of their operating costs.  Their total yearly budget is $288,000.  The majority of their budget is from donations and grants such as the “Tools for Schools” grant made available from the Gibson County Community Foundation.  “Watching these children open up their backpack to a new box of crayons, glue, and pencils is worth all the work that goes into this project by the volunteers.” When asked if there is a noticeable difference between the people of Gibson County and the people in Chicago where he was stationed prior to Princeton, Lt. Cooper thoughtfully said, “The people in this area were more philanthropic and more people give in some amount.”

“We are doing for the Lord,” as the Salvation Army gets ready to ring those bells with a joyful heart and pass your donations on to those who most need them.

Anyone wanting about the Salvation Army and their services can call at 812-286-6577 or check their website at www.saprinceton.org.