DECATUR – Forgoing what would have been its 27th annual awards luncheon, the Human Service Agency Consortium gave its second organization-wide grant Thursday to Decatur Day Care Center for the indoor play space it has under construction.
Executive Director Janice Baldwin said the $2,000 would be spent on equipment, such as retractable bleachers or basketball hoop, since construction of the addition to the center is costing more than expected.
The play space earlier netted a $2,500 grant from the We Are One Community Fund of the Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly and Decatur Building & Construction Trades Council.
Baldwin said she hopes the $300,000 project will be finished by mid-November, when the weather often keeps the children from playing outside.
“Thank you so much, we really appreciate this,” Baldwin said during HSAC's regularly monthly luncheon Thursday in Central Christian Church.
The meeting originally was going to be the annual awards luncheon, but officers decided its agencies had better things to spend their money on in light of funding shortages created by the lack of a state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.
“The cost is $15 per person, and we thought it might be a financial burden,” said HSAC Chairwoman Michelle Boatman, Safe Kids coordinator for the Macon County Health Department.
The usual charge for the regular monthly luncheon is $4.
Agencies represented Thursday included Baby TALK Early Head Start, Decatur Housing Authority, Macon County Conservation District, Macon Resources and United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois,
HSAC's first grant last year went to Mercy Gardens/DIGG, so program Manager Cindy Jackson reported to the group that the $2,000 went for a new tent for the program's farmer's markets and put toward the salaries of three program apprentices.
DIGG stands for Decatur Is Growing Gardeners, which is merging with the Good Samaritan Inn.
Jackson said the apprentices and help from volunteers allowed the program to expand from two lots to six right around the Good Samaritan and start a new garden near St. Mary's Hospital.
“This year we have already produced 1,500 pound of food, and much of that has been donated back to the Good Samaritan, to Northeast Community Fund and to Catholic Charities” Jackson said. “At the same time we're improving the soil, leaving it better than we found it.”