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Donated gold coins to help Lord’s Diner, Guadalupe Clinic

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at 6:55 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at 6:55 a.m.

The magic of gold coins given to charities at Christmastime is that their value, like the Grinch’s heart, expands several times its normal size with the successive generosity of donors.

Such is the case for the south-side Lord’s Diner and a satellite Guadalupe Clinic that will open soon next door. Each received a gold coin Wednesday from the Wichita Community Foundation on behalf of anonymous donors.

The value of the coins on Wednesday was about $1,800. But the coins will be auctioned, and those who buy such coins often donate them back to the charities, so that the coins’ worth continues to grow. Last year, for example, Guadalupe Clinic received $30,000 on an auction of three coins, two of which had been redonated from previous years, said Marlene Dreiling, executive director of Guadalupe Clinic. Guadalupe is building a new satellite clinic next to the Lord’s Diner on South Hillside in the shadow of the old Joyland roller coaster. It provides medical care to the poor who don’t have insurance, for little or no cost.

The two charities, both ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, have already started working together – the clinic took flu shots to the Lord’s Diner one evening. The new clinic will be blessed Jan. 20.

“We purchased the coins on behalf of the donor,” said Rob Allison, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation. “They represent the community. They are so proud of the work that the Lord’s Diner does every day to make people feel comfortable over a warm meal,” and the way the generous and professional staff at the Guadalupe treats patients with “dignity and respect and helps them in a difficult time of lack of insurance.”

The foundation “connects people who care with causes that matter,” Allison said. It holds $47.3 million in assets. With the giving of the gold coins, “this is a favorite part of our year.”

The south-side Lord’s Diner has been serving dinner to 150 to 175 people a night, 30 percent of them children, said director Jan Haberly. The numbers are not as high as the diner hopes for, and it is trying to make the neighborhood Hispanic residents feel comfortable about receiving the free meal, Haberly said. The slightly larger north-side Lord’s Diner serves about 450 people a night.

“We’re trying to create a family atmosphere,” Haberly said, with neighboring families and friends enjoying a meal together and volunteers also serving together as a family unit. Children must be 12 to volunteer.

Allison said he loved the complex of the diner and the clinic being next door to each other in Planeview.

“This is a surging community,” Allison said, noting that a grocery store and a Catholic Charities food pantry also are coming to Planeview. “This is a movement, and our donors are proud to be part of it.”

Reach Annie Calovich at acalovich@wichitaeagle.com or 316-268-6596.

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