Herald-Whig View

Grant affirms Horizons Social Services' mission

Posted: Jul. 13, 2017 9:55 am

HORIZONS Social Services has been making a difference in the Quincy community for eight years, and the release of a state grant shows the charity's work is not going unnoticed.

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs visited Quincy on Tuesday to announce that Horizons Social Services was one of 20 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant from the Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund. The soup kitchen and food pantry received $25,000 -- the highest amount that could be awarded -- to continue its work at 224 S. Eighth.

Horizons Executive Director Sarah Stephens said the grant comes at a good time.

"Donations are always slowest during the summer," she told the Herald-Whig.

There has been other timely support.

Horizons was launched in 2009, operating at the St. John's Anglican Church property at 701 Hampshire. It was supported with finances and volunteers from several local churches and other organizations.

The food pantry moved to the 13,000-square-foot South Eighth property in 2015, and the soup kitchen joined it last year, thanks to overwhelming support for a capital campaign, volunteer labor, and the donation of many appliances and fixtures.

The soup kitchen serves meals from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays. After serving more than 25,000 meals over the past two years, the meal site is busier than ever.

An 11-member advisory board reviewing grant applications for the Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund was impressed with Horizons' outreach.

The fund was authorized in 2007 to assist nonprofit organizations with annual budgets of $1 million or less. But the program never issued any grants. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity handed off control of the grant program to the treasurer's office in 2011, and once more it languished until recently.

Frerichs has called for two rounds of disbursements this year, saying the money does no good sitting idle in a bank account.

"We're glad to see Horizons has been working with local contributions and local volunteers, and we're just very happy to help them in their mission," Frerichs said.

Horizons has been focused on its mission of feeding people in need through the pantry and the soup kitchen for eight years.

Local support has kept Horizons going and growing. This week's grant announcement affirms a program the community has long recognized as a success.