You could call it a Christmas present for lots of people in need, worth up to $100,000.
Now it’s up to others to make the maximum gift possible.
A corporate donor, moved by a story in The Wichita Eagle that three local charities are short on holiday donations, has offered to give up to $100,000 to match gifts to the charities, U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo announced.
The donor will match gifts to Inter-Faith Ministries’ Operation Holiday, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities until Dec. 31, or until funds are completely matched — whichever happens first, a statement from Pompeo’s office said.
“My office received a call … from an anonymous corporate donor interested in helping out the specific charities mentioned in Wednesday’s Wichita Eagle article,” Pompeo said in the statement. “This donor will partner with the United Way to create a challenge grant that promises to raise even more funds for those in need this holiday season. This act of generosity truly represents the very best of Wichita, South Central Kansas, and the Spirit of Christmas.”
In the statement, Patrick Hanrahan, president of United Way of the Plains, said, “This anonymous donor was moved by the recent news reports of these local charities falling short of the needs for Christmas assistance. With this matching gift, people can have their donations doubled to these charities until the end of the year.”
Hanrahan told The Eagle: “I think it’s just a heart-warming story. We’re going through so many cases of need. It just speaks well of the spirit of Christmas this time of year … in this case a corporation wanting to help.”
The story that motivated the corporate donor noted, for example, that on Tuesday, Operation Holiday was short $90,000 in cash donations and 82,000 food items for more than 14,000 people it will help. The Salvation Army, which distributes food to families and toys to 11,000 children at Christmas, said it had raised just 40 percent of the $1.7 million it needs to support its mission of giving during the holidays and year round.
United Way will administer the challenge grant. It’s crucial that donors specify which of the three agencies they want to receive their gifts, Hanrahan said.
Those wishing to donate by check are asked to make the check out to one of the following: “United Way – Challenge for Inter-Faith Ministries,” “United Way – Challenge for Salvation Army” or “United Way – Challenge for Catholic Charities.” The check should be mailed to United Way of the Plains, 245 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202.
Those giving by credit card are asked to call United Way of the Plains at 316-267-1321, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and indicate that they want to participate in the Holiday Charity Challenge Grant.