The Agape Ministry of Warrenton, Inc. has received a $148,000 grant, which is enough to provide daycare subsidies for 36 area children.
Agape, a not-for-profit organization, applied for and received the grant through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Agape Executive Director Kathleen Sharp-Purcell said the project funded a 70 percent tax credit for donors to the organization. For example, if someone gave $100 to Agape, at tax time the donor would receive a $70 tax credit. The tax credits were used just weeks after they received the tax credit allowance.
“With that in mind, we actually received $212,000 in donations,” she said.
The money received will fund the organization’s Community Workforce Enhancement Project, which helps put low-income people at or below food stamp level through college or trade school by providing daycare for children. However, the program has some strict guidelines.
“They have to have ambitious goals,” Sharp-Purcell said. “They can’t just say, ‘I want to work at a gas station,’ they have to say, ‘I want to own a gas station.’ ” “They can’t just say, ‘I want to be a cook,’ They have to say, ‘I want to own a restaurant.’ ”
Participants in the program must also establish yearly goals and review them annually.
Graduates who have been assisted through Agape go on to be teachers, law enforcement officials, nurses, doctors and other professionals or semi-professionals, she said.
“We had one girl who went from Pizza Hut to a physician’s assistant,” she said. “And there was one girl who went to bed one night on food stamps and woke up the next morning and had a $65 an hour job in nuclear medicine.”
Sharp-Purcell said the organization’s goal is to use the funds from the grant to provide daycare for 30 families in the next two years.
“That may not seem like a lot, but it’s been proven that in many cases, if you raise a woman out of poverty she brings her children out of poverty and her children have a better chance of bringing their children out of poverty,” she said.
People in the Workforce Enhancement Program are also eligible for other services through Agape, Sharp-Purcell said, such as one-on-one budget counseling, monthly food basket, once-per-year emergency rent or utility help and emergency help for prescriptions. In addition, clients are also automatically enrolled in the organization’s special programs, such as Share-A-Christmas, winterization, school supplies and even birthday gifts for children.
“This program has made a real difference,” she said.
Sharp-Purcell said there is still money available for prospective students and anyone wishing to apply can visit the Agape Ministry at 713 Powell St., Warrenton, or contact Agape at 636-456-4645.