By Brooke Curley
SAFFORD – For many nonprofit organizations, a little financial help goes a long way.
The grand reopening and ribbon cutting of the OneAZ Credit Union in Safford on Thursday was a happy event with live music, good food and familiar faces. However, what made a good evening great was the presentation of grants to eight local nonprofit organizations.
The largest grant of $1,500 was presented to the Child and Family Resources First Steps Program. Christy Maltos, First Steps program coordinator, told Gila Valley Central that the money will go far to help the program.
“I am very excited about it because we basically run off of grants,” she said. “That’s basically what keeps us going, and if we don’t have it we lose it. I’m a site coordinator for the First Steps program along with several other programs that I work with, so this particular program we offer either prenatal parents or parents with an infant under the age of 3 months with what we call a warm line.”
A warm line is a series of calls, emails or texts made by the Child and Family Resources program to the parents of the newborn. These calls or emails are educational, teaching the parents about activities to help bond with the newborn, and they are a support system to new parents who may not have one.
“One of the main things that we look for is to provide them with some form of support because we feel if they have some form of support system in place, it’s going to keep mom healthy and baby healthy,” Maltos said. “It’s going to keep dad healthy. If you really look at all of our programs in all of our agencies, we’re there to help build strong families. And by building strong families, you don’t have to worry about child abuse.”
The American Legion Swift Murphy Post 32 received a $1,000 grant. In October 2016, Post 32 sustained flooding and hail damage in the colossal hail storm that caused so much destruction in the Safford area. Kent Peck received the grant on behalf of Post 32 and told the audience that the money would aid the post a great deal.
“We had a little bit of a rough time back in October, and this will help out,” Peck said.
Six other nonprofits were awarded grants of $250 each. Although this may seem like a small amount of money compared to the other larger grants, Jeanette Aston of the Mt. Graham Safe House said the money is still very much appreciated. While many individuals might have trouble understanding the concept, Aston said that the $250 will be used repeatedly.
“Every little bit helps at the safe house,” she said. “We’ll just put it into our general fund, so we can use it to operate off of. We have to pay for everything in advance before we are reimbursed by our funders. It will be used over and over and over. We have to pay out salary, so we’ll pay it this month and the next month the funder will give us back that salary.”
Each nonprofit organization works differently with intricate systems of grants, founders and volunteers. Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition Coordinator Kathy Grimes told Gila Valley Central that the money given to the coalition will go to fund the adult drug court.
“We’re so excited about (it) and so appreciative,” Grimes said. “Every little bit helps with our programs. Because drug court just started and it’s underneath one of our subcommittees in our coalition, we’re probably going to be dedicating these funds to the drug court program.”
Credit union employee Tracy Botkins said she was pleased with the reopening event, and that the individuals of OneAZ Credit Union love the community they work in.
“We were so pleased with all who came out,” Botkins said. “We just love our members. I see us working in the community, growing the credit union and working together as a united team.”