November and December are a special time of year when we think of thankfulness and giving; of change and of future dreams. It is shown in nature’s brightness and fall colors as we prepare for a long winter’s rest.
In keeping with the spirit and the hope of the season, Blanchard Area Seniors, Inc. is thankful to be a lead organization in making a difference and giving back to our community and beyond. Despite turbulent times nationally and individually, we have had great success the past few years thanks to those who give of their time, money and emotional support to keep us moving forward in positive thought and service to our town, our state, our country and the world in general. We take this special time of year to thank our volunteers and board of directors who are determined to help one another and utilize our gifts and talents toad to the quality of our lives. As the year draws to a close we count among our blessings the generosity of individual donors, businesses and grant makers who believe in our mission. We are especially thankful for the gifts given us through loyal grant makers who have supported our projects and programs over the years. Without them we could not do what we do to help one another. Their gifts to us enable us to keep on giving.
In 2015-2016, the Community Assistance League, a philanthropic group based out of Sandpoint, granted us $2,500 to install window coverings in the Blanchard Community Center. This has greatly enhanced the look, beauty and security of our unique building. CAL’s mission is to educate their own members as to community needs and they address those needs very efficiently through fundraising, program development and grant making toward that mission. One of their major fundraisers is the operation of a thrift store (Bizarre Bazaar, 502 Church St., Sandpoint). If you have never visited the store or donated to it you are missing out. Your gift to them supports many wonderful causes. CAL has a dedicated membership of hard-working individuals giving back to community through grants and scholarships. We are proud and appreciative to be among their recipients several times in the past.
In 2016-2017, Idaho Community Foundation, Northern Region Greatest Needs Fund granted us $1,000 to get the ball rolling on the construction project to make the main room and patio room in the Blanchard Community Center more accessible for those we serve through the installation of rolling open doors. The doors will also serve as a divider for opening or closing depending on the need of the room use for events or rentals. ICF gathers and grows funds and provides grants to non-profits through regional competition. They have funded many projects and programs at the Blanchard Community Center over the years and we are proud of our relationship with their staff and generous members.
In 2016-2017, BASIC was also the recipient of a $6,000 grant from Inland Northwest Community Foundation, Equinox Foundation which allowed us to enhance our existing arts program at the Blanchard Community Center. The funding bought materials, equipment, supplies and storage for our arts, quilting and drama programs. New staging, microphones, costumes, sewing machine, art sink and free arts camp for children were among the benefits from that grant. In 2017-2018 Inland Northwest Community Foundation, Equinox Foundation additionally gave us a $9000 grant so that we can finish the construction project for rolling doors between the patio and main room. This project should be completed earlier than anticipated thanks to this grant. INWCF has awarded more than $45 million in grants and scholarships serving 10 counties in eastern Washington and 10 in northern Idaho. They have been very generous with grants to the Blanchard Community Center and have held true to their mission of “connecting people who care with causes that matter.” The Equinox Foundation partners with INWCF to provide grant programs for Bonner and Boundary County communities. Over the years BASIC has been the recipient of several grants from INWCF that have made a world of difference for our building, programs and the well being of our community.
Blanchard has been extremely blessed by good people who believe in the services and programs that BASIC provides. The gifts from our supporters are what keep us going and help us to give further to improve and enhance the gifts that we already have. We sincerely appreciate the help and “pats on the back” that make our job so rewarding. It is apparent to us that being thankful and giving promotes more of the same. Blanchard is blessed because of people who believe in doing the same. Giving has a rippling affect; touching the lives of many and so does being thankful. Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas to everyone.
Barbara Hornby is the executive director of Blanchard Area Seniors, Inc.