St. John’s Breadline Truck Recovered by United Way Emergency Funds

Springfield, IL – When a car accident totaled the Catholic Charities St. John’s Breadline truck, which runs six days a week, every week of the year, supervisor Shawna Harris wasn’t sure how they would pick up donations around town.

“As soon as we learned the truck was a total loss, we were devastated,” said Shawna Harris, St. John’s Breadline supervisor. “There is never a good time to be down a truck, but the holidays are a particularly challenging time. We are serving more people and picking up more donations.”

After working with the insurance company, St. John’s Breadline learned the difference between the cost of the new truck and the insurance check was nearly $12,000. An unexpected expense of this size is devastating. However, Catholic Charities was able to turn to a critical partner for help.

United Way of Central Illinois acted quickly when approached with this emergency request. Volunteers voted to award funding in full: $11,400 in emergency relief funding for the purchase of a replacement truck for the St. John’s Breadline on November 30, 2018.

“In addition to our year round investments in programs addressing basic needs, education, financial stability and health, United Way plays a key role when local agencies have emergency needs,” said John Kelker, president of United Way of Central Illinois. “We understand the importance of St. John’s Breadline and want to ensure the program is running at its fullest capacity.”

United Way’s Emergency Fund provides a safety net to community agencies during times of crisis in order to protect daily operations and vital services. Capital needs which qualify for funding for emergency funds are one-time fund expenditures and are not intended to address needs or expenses that could have been anticipated or foreseen in the normal course of business. Since 2013, United Way of Central Illinois has distributed $36,850 in emergency funding to three local agencies requesting assistance.

When Catholic Charities learned they had received the grant there was immense relief knowing that none of the services provided by St. John’s Breadline would be impacted. “Having critical partnerships like we do with United Way is truly the way to transform a community,” said Amber Cerveny, development coordinator. “When we work together more people benefit. We thank United Way for being there for us.”

About United Way of Central Illinois

Founded in 1922, United Way of Central Illinois fights for the basic needs, education, financial stability and health of every person in our community by encouraging our community to give, advocate and volunteer. United Way works with local programs to provide resources to individuals and families in crisis today, while working year-round to improve community conditions and create lasting solutions. United Way is effectively building a strong foundation for our community’s future health and well-being.

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About St. John’s Breadline

Mission Statement: To extend to all the healing and empowering presence of Jesus.

St. John’s Breadline in Springfield serves a hot, nutritious meal in a clean, positive environment 365 days a year. People come in each day to fill their hunger of body and soul. Without these accessible meals, our guests would spend too much time seeking food security instead of jobs, education, and the relationships that help weave them into our community. The St. John’s Breadline serves nearly 200,000 meals annually largely to seniors, children and the disabled.

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