MAPLE PARK – A longtime effort to help Maple Park families has received its biggest donation yet – $2,500.
"That was such a marvelous, marvelous thing to receive," said Julie Little of the Maple Park Family Fund. "We've never had any donation that large before."
The Maple Park Family Fund received the $2,500 donation because local farmer John Biddle was picked as a 2014 winner in America's Farmers Grow Communities. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, America's Farmers Grow Communities offers farmers the chance to win $2,500 for their favorite local nonprofit organization.
Biddle's nonprofit choice was the Maple Park Family Fund.
"We're so thankful to be picked," Little said.
The Maple Park Family Fund started many years ago as some people helping each other in the village and has grown into a "huge community event" held in December that raises money through raffles, Little said.
"Every penny we make goes to helping families," she said.
In addition to providing support at Christmas, she said, the Maple Park Family Fund helps families with school supplies at the start of the school year and helps provide them with food, gas cards and medicine throughout the year.
As the need increased and the economy soured, Little said, those running the family fund – which is known by word of mouth – have worried each year that people won't have as much money to spend on the raffle.
"This year, we saw a drop on the money we raised," Little said. "It will be great that we've got this donation."
Visit www.growcommunities.com for a complete list of Grow Communities winners and program information.