Community Foundation Awards $6,000 in Grants

The Halstead Community Foundation has announced nine recipients of its 2019 grant cycle, which totaled about $6,000. Macey Mueller, director of the community foundation, presented the grants last Sunday during the Old Settlers community picnic.

“We had a lot of great projects, and we were so excited to be able to fund these really great and diverse projects that are going to make a great impact in our community,” Mueller said.

Teachers Amy Hiebert and Angie Leep accepted a grant on behalf of Halstead Middle School to be used for the school’s Dragon Den, a resource room to meet the food and toiletry needs of students.

“Anything that a kid might need that they don’t have access to, we want to be able to provide that for them,” Hiebert said.

Teacher Ashley Watkins accepted a grant to purchase “I Am That Girl” workbooks for incoming freshmen girls at Halstead High School. Girls in upper grade levels received these books thanks to a community foundation grant a year ago.

“Last year I started a girls group at the high school just with the goal of empowering girls to make changes in their lives and in the school and in the community,” Watkins explained.

Halstead Public Library received a grant to help fund programs from the Cosmosphere and Exploration Place to visit during the summer reading program in July.

“These programs are not cheap, so we used that money for the programs and also for prizes for kids that exceeded their reading this summer,” Library Director Joleen Ross said. “Everybody did such a great job.”

Halstead’s Interfaith Council was awarded a grant to fund next year’s Vacation Bible School, which grew to 135 kids this past summer.

“We specifically used the money to purchase what we call ‘gizmos,’ that go home with each kid every day,” organizer Melanie Haspels said. “They help reinforce the Bible point and are a take-home thing to help them remember what they did that day.”

Scott Koehn with the Newton Meals on Wheels accepted a grant for their program to continue delivering meals to seniors in Halstead.

Megan Evans, representing the Neighbors Store, accepted a grant to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to clients of their food pantry.

“So much of our food that we get is canned or boxed, so it’s always good to be able to give away fresh fruit and vegetables,” Evans said.

The Halstead Historical Society received a grant to help digitally preserve its slide collections.

“At the depot museum, we have accumulated a huge archive of historic slide photos of Halstead,” secretary Carolyn Williams said, adding that board members have been meeting all summer to sort through these slides, which number more than one thousand.

The Halstead Cloverleaf 4-H Club was awarded a grant to continue its Main Street beautification project of six flower planters downtown.

“We were actually able to add two of them last year, so that was amazing,” Club President Josie Engel said.

The Bentley Primary School counseling department also received funding for tools to help at-risk students, including toys for play therapy, play sand, stress balls, puppets, weighted blankets and stuffed animals, which counselor Brianna Kraus said the school was very grateful for.

All of these grants were made possible by the Halstead Community Impact Endowment fund and the Kansas Health Foundation—Halstead Fund.

By Jared Janzen, Harvey County Independent