By Vicki Adams
The Mer Rouge Community Chest holds a fund drive every year to raise money for 29 different charities within their community. On Oct. 5, they will kick off another season, collecting donations for the 34th Annual Community Chest Fund Drive.
Alma Honeycutt, the organization's publicist, said their goal this year is to raise $10,000, the same amount they've aimed for during the past “four or five years.”
“When we began [in 1979], our goal was $7,000,” she said. “Over the years we added more and more charities, so we had to raise the amount of money we needed.”
Honeycutt said the reason they continuously incorporated more charities was to “eliminate individual drives.”
“People from several different charities were approaching me and others, wanting us to give to each of them,” she said. “The Community Chest board members decided to add these other charities to our organization so all the money collected could be distributed as evenly as possible to each one.”
Honeycutt said donors may choose to have their money put into the Community Chest's general fund, or they can decide specifically which charity they want their money to go toward.
She said the money is raised by sending letters of request to people in the Mer Rouge community.
“The money is collected at the Mer Rouge State Bank,” Honeycutt said. “People either mail their check to the bank or they put money in the account during visits to the bank.”
Honeycutt explained how she and another of Mer Rouge's residents began the Community Chest 33 yeas ago.
“Other towns were collecting money for charities in their areas and I wanted so much to have my own community participate in our own fund raiser,” she said. “I approached Bobbie Williams, Dr. Joe Williams' wife, both who are now deceased, and asked her to be a chairperson and help me name board members.”
Honeycutt said board members are people in the community who “consent to give of their time unselfishly.”
“They are very concerned citizens who are dedicated to this cause,” she said. “We've been very pleased with the accomplishments we've made.”
In the past few years, the Chest has surpassed their goal of $10,000. Honeycutt hopes the community will show that same generosity this year.
“Mer Rouge is a very caring and very responsive community,” she said. “I know the residents in this area will give as much as they can.”
The money raised during the fund raiser will be displayed on the giant thermometer, which will stand in the lot next door to the Mer Rouge State Bank.
“The thermometer will keep the public informed as to our progress,” Honeycutt said. “This fund drive will give everyone an opportunity to do their fair share to help their fellow man.”