LEBANON, Missouri (Press Release)- The annual Community Cares Campaign Celebration Luncheon was held on Wednesday at Lebanon First Assembly of God Church. Lebanon Area Foundation awarded $95,050 in Community Cares grants to 25 nonprofit organizations serving Laclede County residents.

“We are starting our 18th year of Community Cares. With the support of our community, we have raised over $1.4 million that have been granted to nearly 70 different nonprofits,” LAF President Joy Davis said in her opening remarks.

Community Cares is a program of the Lebanon Area Foundation that raises funds that are then distributed back into the community, serving vital needs. Community Cares grants provide food, clothing, shelter, disaster relief, literacy, mental health counseling, transportation, and opportunities for the disabled in Laclede County.

Davis explained, “We could not have raised over $95,000 this year without the hundreds of employees contribute to Community Cares through payroll deduction, dozens of local businesses who give annual donations, the Lebanon R-3 students and staff who participated in our Fall Campaign, and our amazing campaign sponsors.”

LAF Administrator Melinda Fries thanked luncheon guests for their support of this year’s Fall Campaign. The Lebanon R-III School District was honored for their strong support of the Community Cares program. Fries mentioned that multiple classrooms and student groups participated in a District-Wide Penny Drive for Community Cares. Boswell Elementary School championed the effort with 100% participation, winning the Community Cares Power of Change trophies for the School and the Classroom that raised the most money.
Fries thanked the students and teachers that helped raise almost $1,000 and presented the Lebanon R-III School District with the Corporate Partner Award for hosting the District-Wide Penny Drive for Community Cares.

LAF board members Keith Davis and Kelly Rhoades presented grant award letters to nonprofit representatives, providing brief explanations of how each grant would be serving Laclede County residents in the coming year.

Bays Chiropractic and Bays Cares, Inc. sponsored the Celebration Luncheon, covering the cost of the food. Decorations were provided by Perennial Gift Shop in Lebanon and the food was prepared by the LTCC Culinary Department students. LAF Secretary and Community Cares Chairperson, Sue Lewis, closed the program by thanking the community for its continued support of the Community Cares grant program and reminded the crowd that the next major Community Cares fundraiser will be the 2018 Hometown Heroes Breakfast on April 12, 2017.