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Local service agencies appreciate holiday help, but would like it to continue all year

CARBONDALE — It is the time of year when many people become charitably-inclined. Donations are made, volunteer hours are filled.

And local service agencies say they will take all the help they can get, but it would be good if this mindset lasted all year.

John Smith is the executive director for the Egyptian Area Agency on Aging. His organization helps coordinate services for seniors, including a meal delivery program. He said on one hand, he doesn’t want to ask too much of those who offer their time, but said there are services that need more consistent help.

“The problem is finding enough people to fill those gaps,” he said, adding that any little bit helps, even just two months out of the year, but in order to make communities stronger and better places, a more consistent year-long stream is preferable. “We think volunteers in our local communities can do that.

"Any amount of time that is volunteers if helpful, particularly if we can match up someone’s skills with a need in the community."

Henry Long, executive director for Senior Adult Services in Carbondale, agreed. He said even just once a week can make a difference.

Long said there are more ways to help than making a large time commitment, even regular monetary donations make a difference.

Long said his organization is actually not in need of much volunteer help, but said without the volunteers they do have — he said there are more than 100 regulars on their list — many of the services they offer would not look the same, if they would be offered at all.

“We have limited resources and in order to supply the number of meals and service the number of clients we do it would be impossible,” Long said.

Delores Penn is a licensed cook and congregant at Bethel AME Church in Carbondale. She helps organize the church’s Feed My Sheep delivered meals program. She said they serve about 40 people a day, five days a week, not including their onsite food program at the Church — and are often looking for help. Sometimes help falls through, and having a deeper bench of helpers would make it easier to fill these gaps.

Penn said it warms her heart knowing the good the program she helps with has such a direct impact.

“It feels good to be able to know that they are at least getting on good meal a day,” Penn said, noting that she's not sure some would eat well without their meals.

Pastor Ronald R. Chambers also helps oversee the program, which is going on 15 years old. He echoed Long in that were it not for the help from the public, his ministry wouldn’t be possible.

“Thank God for the community. Thank God for other churches and community organizations that has basically bought in to what we are trying to do in the community,” he said.

As to the holiday-giving effect, Chambers said he thinks its short-sighted and doesn’t always address the entire problem.

“I can help you on Christmas. I can help you on Thanksgiving. I can help you on Easter. But what happens through the year?” he said.

He was reminded that the Bible teaches that there will never be a shortage of need — there is always a way to help.

“Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with you,’” Chambers said.

Richard Sitler, The Southern 

Herrin senior Cameron Vaughn blocks the shot of Cairo senior Damrius Taylor during the second quater in Memorial Gym in Herrin on Tuesday.

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'I’m going to lead the charge': Jeanne Ives, Rauner's GOP primary challenger, visits Southern Illinois

MURPHYSBORO — State Rep. Jeanne Ives recently announced she will challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in March's Republican primary.

On Tuesday, she spent her day in Southern Illinois.

Ives, R-Wheaton, represents the 42nd District, which includes all of parts of Wheaton, Warrenville, West Chicago, Winfield, Carol Stream, Lisle and Naperville.

On Monday, after an official campaign announcement and hometown gathering in Wheaton, Ives filed her petitions in Springfield. Then, she used her first days of campaigning to connect with voters she calls “the forgotten people of southern and central Illinois.”

She started the day Tuesday visiting with voters in Marion. She moved to Murphysboro for the early afternoon, then on to Red Bud later in the day.

Ives was elected state representative in 2012. She is a 1987 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor of science in economics. Ives served on Wheaton City Council.

Her running mate is former State Rep. Rich Morthland, a Rock Island farmer and assistant professor at Black Hawk College.

“Unfortunately, the governor joined the Chicago Democratic agenda instead of adopting conservative Republican ideals,” Ives said.

Ives grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, a farming community of about 10,000, in a family with six children. Four of those children moved to Illinois in the early 1990s to seek careers. One sister still lives in Vermillion.

Earlier this year, her sister called to say she met a couple from Du Page County who were looking at homes in Vermillion. They told her sister that they could not afford to stay in Illinois and send their children to college.

“They left Illinois to become South Dakota residents where there is no state income tax and half the property taxes of Illinois. Now they can afford to send their kids to college and take vacations,” Ives said.

Ives went to Springfield as a state representative on behalf of the tax payers and residents of Illinois, and now she would like to be governor on behalf of even more Illinois taxpayers.

Ives is a conservative, which to her means belief in fiscal restraint, limited government, freedom of speech and conscience, rule of law and personal responsibility. She is often called a social conservative, but Ives says she is running for governor as a fiscal conservative.

“It is 100 percent not true that I am all about social issues,” Ives said.

She used taxpayer funding of abortion as an example.

“Taxpayer funding of abortion is a fiscal issue. You don’t start programs when the state is practically bankrupt,” Ives said.

She is also concerned about education funding and was adamantly opposed to the education funding bill that passed.

“We now have made another promise we cannot keep,” Ives said.

The bill would cost $350 billion over the next 10 years. The governor has already backed off parts of the bill in his proposed budget.

Ives believes the state should fund underfunded schools first, then reward schools with good outcomes.

“Nobody’s saying what I am saying or doing what I am doing," she said. "I’m going to lead the charge."

She also wants to lead the charge on public corruption, which costs money, lives and credibility. She said she will detect, expose and prosecute corruption from day one.

“Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin all turned around their states," Ives said, "and Illinois can do that, too."

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