By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Christmas came early for an agency helping Pike County residents in need.
The Pike County Endowment Fund Council announced its first grant on Tuesday to Two Rivers Council Foundation.
"We are very pleased to announce that through determination, hard work and support from individuals and businesses, the Pike County Endowment Fund has grown to the point where it is beginning the next step -- grant making," said Kent Hawley, who chairs the Pike County Endowment Fund Council. "Over a couple of years, we've been raising money, and now we're able to make a decent-sized contribution to the people of Pike County."
The grant will be used to support the Two Rivers Food Pantry.
"The grant will greatly impact the families we serve," food pantry manager Rachel Baker said. "It will allow our food pantry to continue to provide staple food and personal items to those in need in our community, especially during the holiday season."
Baker said the pantry serves 750 to 800 families per month, down slightly from August when 901 families sought help to put food on the table while children were out of school and eating three meals a day at home.
"We've actually had a lot of really good donations. A lot of people are really stepping forward and donating in the past month," Baker said. "At Christmastime people donate a little more, but it goes out as fast it comes in."
Knowing the grant is the first presented by the fund "makes it more special," Baker said.
The grant was presented on Giving Tuesday, a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the holiday season to celebrate and encourage charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.
"It's good this lands on Giving Tuesday so we can show that giving is a very important part of what we do as people and as a community," Hawley said.
The fund serves as a permanent endowment benefiting Pike County residents for generations to come. Grants from the fund will support charitable organizations, projects and programs in the county. A Fund Council, made up of representatives of Pike County, makes recommendations for grants from the fund.
"We hope people see what we're doing as a worthwhile endeavor to keep money in Pike County and serve nonprofit organizations that help people within our community," Hawley said. "It's going to be good, to start giving back and see positive things coming out of the Pike County Endowment Fund."
The Pike County Endowment Fund is administered through the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area, a not-for-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.
Gifts to the Pike County Endowment Fund are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
To make gifts of any size or learn more about the fund, contact Kaye Iftner at 285-2971.
More information about the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area is available by calling 222-1237, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and online at mycommunityfoundation.org.