The Fabulous 50 Women’s Circle of Care has donated $11,600 to a group working to feed needy children.

The charitable giving circle of more than 60 women chose the Brown County Weekend Backpacks program to receive their 2015 contributions.

Volunteers pack 85 bags of food for children to take home on Fridays. Each contains two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks for two days, volunteer Linda Todd told the group at their gathering Feb. 12.

The committee has been able to reduce the cost — which is about $5 to $6 per student — by getting churches and other groups to commit to donating certain types of food regularly. But demand for backpacks continues to grow, and the committee has been working on ways to make the program sustainable.

This donation will go a long way toward that goal.

As of Feb. 12, the backpack program was serving students in Helmsburg and Sprunica elementaries and Brown County Intermediate School; Van Buren Elementary children are served by a different group of volunteers. Backpack volunteer Jan Swigert said at least five Brown County Junior High School students would start receiving backpacks by Feb. 19.

Fabulous 50 women give $200 per year to the giving circle.

Each donor writes a cause she would like to support on a slip of paper, and three slips are drawn from a basket to be contenders for that year’s donations.

Then, members make pitches to the group about why their nominee is deserving.

In addition to the backpack program, the other two contenders this year were the Salt Creek Trail and TRIAD.

The Silver Linings women’s shelter received the group’s money in 2014. In the past year, the shelter — the only one in Brown County — has been able to house 21 women, from 10 days to 6 months at time.

Director Carrie Foley said the group’s gift of $9,000 allowed the shelter to start a woman-to-woman lending program to help former shelter residents make rent and utility down-payments on places of their own.

Foley said about half of the giving circle’s donation has been set aside to start a building fund, because now, the home housing the shelter is for sale.

She said Silver Linings leaders will be asking for help in the coming months to either buy the house or build another place.

“We couldn’t have done this without your help,” she said about the shelter’s work in the past year.

“What a great, fabulous idea the Fabulous 50 is.”

Fabulous 50 2015 members

Joan Amati, Kathy Anderson, Teresa Anderson, Angela Aumage, Patricia Bartels, Carol Bell, Shirley Boardman, Rhea Ellen Boley, Barb Bowman, Ann Callahan, Diane Cantrell, Bonnie Closey, Cindy Dale, Marylin Day, Fenella Flinn, Carrie Foley, Tamra Galm, Brenda Green, Janis Greenlee, Jenny Johnson, Davie Kean, Brenda Kelley, Janet Kramer, Karen Lawrence, Jaydene Laros, Betsy Lease, Peg Lindenlaub, Pat Lloyd, Bev Logterman, Catherine Martin, Julie Milloy, Heather Mollo, Mary Beth Moore, Letty Newkirk, Donna Niednagel, Donna Ormiston, Kimberly Paarlberg, Mary Perez, Rachel Perry, Connie Pockevich, Kim Robinson, Kathryn Richardson, Joan Rigley, Kathy Roberts, Carol Routh, Joann Rozzi, Joyce Shook, Rita Simon, Kathy Smith-Andrew, Jan Swigert, Donna Tackett, Susan Three Hawks, Linda Todd, Jane Weatherford, Linda Welty, Laura Wenzler, Linda Wescott, Julie Winn, Joan Wright, Laura Young, Barb Zieg

Support the causes

The Fabulous 50 Women’s Circle of Care, the Brown County Weekend Backpacks program and many other community causes have endowments at the Brown County Community Foundation. To contribute to a fund, contact the BCCF at 812-988-4882.

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Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.