neighborhood center

Meredith (left) and Madeline, who volunteer at the Marshall County Neighborhood Center, were spending part of summer vacation sorting through donations to be distributed in the center’s clothing pantry.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect website to donate. The website has since been corrected.)

MARSHALL COUNTY — “To keep their lights on we have to keep our lights on.” Executive Director of Marshall County Neighborhood Center (MCNC) Chris Garner stated.

In order to serve the thousands of household members who turn to MCNC for assistance with energy bills, food, and clothing, Garner has organized a day of giving for Friday, July 26 to raise funds to help cover the center’s operational expenses.

Garner hopes to raise $10,000 in donations and pledges to cover the expenses not compensated for through the center’s largest annual fundraiser ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

That event raised enough to cover half of the center’s operational expenses which include the monthly building mortgage payment, staff salaries, and building maintenance. 

The theme of the event is #BeANeighbor.

The main goal of the event is to establish donors who contribute monthly. One time donations are also appreciated.

“Our hope it to create monthly givers.”

Neighbors who contribute $10 a month will be given a bumper sticker, $25 a month will be gifted the sticker and a mug, and $40 a monthly will be gifted the sticker, the mug and a pound of coffee.

The website will go live on Friday, July 26 where individuals and businesses will be able to select from a number of possible donation options including the monthly sponsorships and general funds to include the energy fund.

To date the center has helped 56 families from January 2019 to present with their energy bill compared to 47 for the whole of 2018.

Garner stated, “That is really sobering. We have already helped more households cover energy costs this year than last and we are barely halfway through 2019.” 

1,261 households (just under 5,000 household members) received assistance from the food pantry from January to present. 1,184 households (just over 4,000 household members) have benefited from the clothing closet. Garner said, “Our volunteers have logged just under 2,000 hours.”

Board members will be on-site at the French Press the day of the event from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. with laptops to help people make a donation online or issue paper forms.

They will also be available to answer questions.

Following that, all are welcome to partake of hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and a drink sponsored by the MCNC board for a donation of $5.

They will be serving lunch from 12 p.m. (noon) to 1 p.m. at the center, after which the center will remain open through 5 p.m. in an open house format for supporters of the center to tour, meet the board, and find out more about what the center is doing to fulfill their mission as the ‘Together we can make a difference. We are the heart of the neighborhood.’

Garner is seeking businesses to sponsor 1 hour segments of the event.

Full sponsorship costs $1,000.

Co-sponsorship costs $500.

In return, Garner’s team will promote that business during their sponsored hour on their social media blitz which will be running throughout the event.

Plymouth Community Church and Alison Stone of Farm Bureau have committed to sponsor. 

In-kind sponsors to date include the French Press, Recon Media, Red Door Marketing and Shirts with a Story. 

The center is located at 402 W. Garro St., Plymouth and serves all of Marshall County. Garner can be reached by calling 574-936-3388. 

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