• Last modified 549 days ago (Dec. 19, 2019)


Assistance group given new name, $2,500 donation

Poverty assistance group Circles of Marion County announced a change last week in Florence, of both name and affiliation. The group is now Core Communities Marion County.

“With Circles USA, we didn’t get the support we needed for a full-time program,” member Mark Rogers said.

The group’s affiliation with Core Communities will boost its budget, Rogers said.

Under Circles, there was between $15,000 and $20,000 raised annually, an $80,000 budget is being proposed for 2020.

Hitting that goal will come down to gathering assistance in Marion County, Rogers said. The process started early, with Florence Community Foundation donating $2,500 during last week’s announcement.

A drawback of not having a permanent program with Circles was that it was difficult to get accurate statistics on members’ progress, Rogers said.

“Being part-time, we haven’t had time to run after people and collect data on a consistent basis,” he said.

Working with Core Communities, which is based in western Kansas, will enable the group to draw on the experience of people more knowledgeable in gathering data, he said.

Once a person expresses a desire to improve his or her life, Core Communities can help provide tools necessary, Mark Rogers said.

“We look for people who want to do something better with their lives,” he said. “Sometimes when they come to us, they don’t even know what they want.”

While the group is looking for a permanent home, meetings are held in Peabody. The travel requirements make it important to provide options like car pools or gas cards to help, Rogers said.

“If you’re in poverty and this could benefit you, we don’t want gas to be a problem,” he said.

Last modified Dec. 19, 2019