$7,000 were raised at a fundraising dinner for Stafford County Circles--a program designed to help people get out of poverty.

Stafford County Circles raised $7,000 at their second annual fundraising dinner on Sunday noon, at the IOOF Lodge in St. John. More than 170 people attended, according to Sheryl White, development coordinator for Youth Core Ministries.

YCM was the lead agency in bringing the Circles program to Stafford County in conjunction with Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz of Essdack.

“Our goal is to raise $9,000 in order to match an anonymous grant,” said Deborah Factor, chief executive officer of the sponsoring agency YCM. “We are in sight of achieving our goal and we had a delightful day together.” Explaining the Circles program, White said it was a wonderful program whose goal was to help people get out of poverty using 11 resources that all humans have at their disposal, including mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.”

Circles groups are established in both St. John and Stafford and 20 participants graduated this first year as Circle Leaders, according to White.

Those graduating completed a 20-class program based on “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World."

In their second year stepping into the role of Circle leader they will be a paired with Circle “Allies” who have also been trained in Dr. Ruby Paynes’ “Bridges Out of Poverty.”

A session for new participants started in Stafford on July 2 with Heather Delp as coach, White said.

The St. John session for new participants will begin Monday, October 15 with Teresa Miller as coach-director of St. John Circles.

Motorcycle Mary will be presenting to both groups at the Stafford United Methodist Church on Monday, September 17 from 6-7:30 p.m., which is also open to the public, according to White.

“Motorcycle Mary knows how to crunch budget numbers in a way that is amazingly comical and yet profound,” White said.

The pulled pork entrée for the Sunday fundraising dinner was provided by Steve and Pat Paulson and those attending brought sides, salads and desserts.

“The Circles Advisory board plus many community members worked very hard to make this day a huge success,” Factor said. “Marty and Edna Zeigler provided comic relief in a skit called ‘It Takes Two to Triumph’ and we were entertained by the delightful craftsmanship of Bill and Rita Clausing. St. John City Manager Dakota Tucker provided the sound system,” White said. “Circle Leaders and Allies from both St. John and Stafford shared their heartfelt thanks for the support that their Circle’s family has given them over this last year.”

“It is not too late to help us reach our goal,” White said. “Contact Teresa Miller or Jeanette Hildebrand, 620-546- 3763 if you are interested or you can mail your gift directly to Youth Core Ministries, Stafford County Circles at 211 E. Garfield, Greensburg, Kan. 67054. Thanks to everyone for your great support.”

White expressed thanks to Stafford Circle Volunteers by category:

Stafford Allies: Dr. Larry Ball, Joe Fritzemeyer, Shelly Berens, Clayton Grimmett, Barbara Grimmett, Adrienne Minnis, Carrie Hildebrand, Kathy DeWerff, Sandy Gere, Alda Hildebrand, Arnold Hilde- brand, Carl Hildebrand, and Jeanette Hildebrand.

Stafford Child Care: Alda Hildebrand, Brenda Lauridsen, Tammy Simmons, Joy Oden, Allie Wendelburg and Elizabeth Fitch.

Meals: Stafford PTO, Leisure Homestead, Mary Jo Taylor, Zenith Community Church, Stafford Hospital, First United Methodist Church, Calvary Baptist Church, Stafford Chamber of Commerce, Stafford Church of Christ, Stafford Library Board, First Baptist Church, Future Farmers of America, Trinity Community Church, Jo Caley, Mayor Julie Lyon, St John the Apostle Church, City of Stafford, Lenora Cook, Circles Staff, Circles Leaders, Rodney and Karen Roush, Sister Paulynn and Jorga Coleman.

St. John Meal Volunteers: 1st Baptist Church, 1st United Methodist Church, American State Bank, Antrim United Methodist Church, Calvary Baptist Youth Group, St John the Apostle Church/Youth Group, Church of Christ, Circles Staff, Larry and Connie Ball, Economic Development, FCCLA, LIFE After School Program, Kays & Kayettes, Eden Valley Church, Elementary Teachers, Golden Belt Telephone, Jolly Workers 4-H Club, Lions Club, St. John PTO, Rachel Fisher and Hannah Salee Families, Southern Baptist Church, St. John National Bank, Greg and Susan Lewis, Becky Thrasher, Trinity Com- munity Church, Wheatland Café, Women’s League, Cody and Julie Dick.

St. John Volunteers:

Allies: Gail Woodward, Ray Davidson, Joel Miller, Leroy Lyon, Lynda McAllister, Cami Raines, Aaron Raines, Virginia Russell, LeAnn Russell, Anna Minnis, Timothy Spare, Pam Turner, Lucille McDaniel and Suzanne Hildebrand.

Childcare: Glenna Willinger.