Catholic Charities begins grain initiative
By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
Steve Elbert, development director at Catholic Charities, said the new initiative is focused on securing more grain donations.
“Seventy percent of our annual budget at Catholic Charities is made up from the kindness of businesses, farmers, individuals and churches so the donation dollar is very important,” he said.
Elbert acknowledged that while they have received grain donations in the past, this year they opted to make more of a concerted effort at securing gifts of this nature.
“Our goal is to receive one donation from every parish, regardless of the amount of bushels,” he said. “Given the economic downturn, we have seen more and more families in need of counseling. With the stress that is placed on couples, it filters down to children. Professional mental health therapy is very important these days.”
He cited some examples of what services could be provided by gifts of various sizes:
• A gift of $120 – approximately 20 bushels of corn – covers the cost of an emergency counseling session.
“Regardless of the size of the gift of grain, it really can make a difference,” Elbert said.
Since certain steps must be taken to maximize tax benefits in making a grain donation, he suggested farmers to call him first. Elbert noted the Diocese of Sioux City has helped Catholic Charities compile a grain ownership transfer form to help with the process.
“There are key points for a valid grain donation,” Elbert said. “The farmer must deliver grain to the elevator or currently hold grain in their name to provide proof of production. The farmer must transfer ownership title of the commodity to Catholic Charities and Catholic Charities must make the final decision to sell the grain.”
He mentioned that Catholic Charities has accounts set up at several grain elevators throughout the diocese, but not all. In those cases, Elbert asks the farmers to contact him and he can work with the elevator to set up an account.
Because the tax laws can be very complex, he suggested farmers consult their tax preparer to secure more information about their personal tax situation.
Catholic Charities is reaching out to farmers throughout the diocese as its services extend through northwest Iowa. The agency’s home office is located in Sioux City and it has branch offices in Carroll, Fort Dodge and Spencer with satellite offices in Storm Lake and Algona.
“We are looking at expanding into the northwest part of the diocese and the southeast portion. With support, we are hoping to be able to do that in the coming years,” said Elbert, who noted it was a bequest from a generous benefactor that allowed them to open the Spencer office.
Elbert pointed out that nearly 50 percent of clientele in the Spencer and Fort Dodge offices are children.
“Donations given to Catholic Charities help our young people find their own strengths through therapy to become healthier, happier individuals,” he said.
Contact Elbert at (712) 252-4547 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is also available at www.cathchar.com.
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