Noon Exchange Club presents checks and new officers
By DAVID J. HARDIN
The Noon Exchange Club of Copperas Cove held its annual banquet Thursday night at Shilo Inn in Killeen.
According to Susan Ayres, Vice-President of Public Relations for the Noon Exchange Club, they raise money throughout the year but their main fundraiser is the May Fest Color Run.
“Tonight we are giving away $18,000 in donations to organizations that help address and fight child abuse,” Ayres said.
Dennis Ayres is a board member and past president of the Noon Exchange Club and served as the chair for this year’s May Fest Color Run that raised the majority of the money they gave away Thursday night.
“May Fest is our main fundraiser for our goal of child abuse prevention; our mandate is to donate every dollar raised to local organizations here in central Texas that helps prevent child abuse,” he said.
The Noon Exchange Club presented a total of $18,000 to six local nonprofit organizations to include Hope Pregnancy Center of Copperas Cove, Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter, AWARE Central Texas, the Rainbow Room, Communities In Schools (CIS), and S.M.I.L.E. All of these organizations help children and help fight child abuse, which is one of the main goals of the Noon Exchange Club.
The first check for $4,500 was presented to Anna Leach, the Director of the Hope Pregnancy Center of Copperas Cove. The center has been in Copperas Cove for 17 years. It provides free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds to make sure that it is a viable pregnancy. The center also tries to help women by educating them on their options to include adoption.
“We also tell them what risks are involved with having an abortion,” said Leach. “We also provide parenting classes, and in those classes, expecting mothers can make ‘money’ to buy brand new items, which is totally supported by the community. All of our services are free.”
The next check was presented to S.M.I.L.E. for $1,000, and accepting the check was Joyce Pineda. The organization helps children with special needs, and helps them understand that they are not alone, and that there are other children like them. The acronym S.M.I.L.E. stands for “special memories in life everyday.”.
“I really appreciate everything that you have done to support S.M.I.L.E. it is wonderful to receive this donation and will help our children. We have planned to take our kids to Morgan’s Wonderland theme park, and our kids are already so excited about this trip,” said Pineda. Morgan’s Wonderland is a 25-acre theme park in San Antonio that was designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.
Another check for $2,000 was presented to the Coryell County Rainbow Room, and accepting on their behalf was Rita Burgess, chairwoman.
The Rainbow Room is a 24-hour emergency resource center available to child protective service workers to assist them in meeting the critical needs of abused and neglected children. The center is managed exclusively by volunteers and its operations are funded entirely through grants, donations, and other efforts supported by generosity of the local community.
Rita Burgess told the Noon Exchange Club, “Thank you for your support and helping us make a difference in the life of a child.”
Communities In Schools (CIS) received the next check for $4,500.
CIS helps try to prevent kids from dropping out of school, helps at-risk kids, who face many different challenges today, and helps them overcome those challenges. Ultimately assisting them into achieving their goal of graduating from high school.
“I want to thank the Noon Exchange Club for your many years of support,” and Executive Director Michael Dewees. “It means a lot to receive this funding from the Noon Exchange Club. Communities in Schools will use this money to help with our campus budgets, and will allow our staff to purchase basic necessities, like clothing, shoes, socks, and art supplies for some of our support groups.”
AWARE Central Texas received a check for $2,000. AWARE is an organization that is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse, neglect, and family violence, and the organization is under the National Exchange Club umbrella. AWARE Central Texas covers all of Bell, Coryell, Lampasas, Milam Counties.
“What I have always worked under is the premise that a home should be a safe place, and so what we try to do is get in there and help assist families who are at risk for child abuse or family violence,” said Executive Director Misty Biddick.
Cove House received the final check of the evening, with the Noon Exchange Club donating $4,500 to the shelter. Accepting the check was Brian Hawkins, executive director of Cove House.
“This is extraordinary and is going to go a long way in helping us provide for the need of the people who live in these houses. We are very blessed to be able get the amount that we are getting,” Hawkins said. “Our places are somewhere a family can go for several weeks, which in turn gives people a chance to find a job, if they do not already have one, they can save some money. They can do the things that they really need to do without worrying where they are going sleep tomorrow night. Our goal is to help alleviate that stress from the parents, and hopefully help prevent those stresses that may contribute to the parent taking their issues out on their children.”
The new board of directors for the term 2017-2019 is Dennis Ayres, Angela Fields, and Marsha Siler. The second year returning board members for the term 2016-2018 are James Glowinski, Paul Inman, and James (JT) Tatum. New officers are Secretary Marilynn Bell, Treasurer Sandy Blount, and President Mike Blount.