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March 9, 2012

Good Folks of York County gives $70,000 to PATH, children's home

Good Folks of York County will donate $70,000 to the Children's Attention Home in Rock Hill and People Attempting to Help (PATH) in York. It's the largest donation from the group since its beginning in 1991.

During hard economic times, nonprofit organizations say their donations tend to remain flat or decrease.

Good Folks of York County is making sure those nonprofits get the help they need.

Today, the group will donate $70,000 to the Children's Attention Home in Rock Hill and People Attempting to Help (PATH) in York.

It's the largest donation from the group since its beginning in 1991, said Steve Sannella, 2011 Good Folks chairman.

Good Folks of York County is a group of residents and businesses who meet annually to "provide a significant financial service to local community organizations serving residents in need of help," he said.

York County nonprofits apply for the funds each summer, Sannella said. The number of applicants is narrowed in the fall, with the finalists making presentations.

In the past, Good Folks has helped with donations to the Clover Area Assistance Center, Fort Mill Care Center, Lighthouse Shelter and Palmetto Volunteers in Medicine, while helping other organizations with operational funds items they need.

This year, members selected the Children's Attention Home and PATH.

"Our focus over the last couple years, given the economy, has been to help those in need, operationally," Sannella said. "There's such an unlimited demand for funds amongst these two agencies that we felt compelled to choose them."

More than 300 people attended the annual luncheon at York Technical College in December to raise money for the nonprofits.

Sannella said previous efforts have raised about $45,000, but this year was different.

"The money kept coming in even after the luncheon," he said. "We're really pleased with that. People really stepped up to the plate for these two organizations."

Rebecca Melton, executive director of the Children's Attention Home, said her agency is excited to be chosen as a recipient. She said their share of the money will go toward food, clothing and shelter.

She said there were three parts to the honor of being selected: community awareness, interaction and the donation.

"To nonprofits, we are still in a recession," Melton said. "So this is a wonderful gift. We're going to be able to serve the children and continue doing the great work we're doing in helping them."

Like Melton, Cheri Curtin, executive director of PATH, said her organization is excited to receive the donation. She said PATH will use it to fund operations.

"We are a food pantry and basic financial needs assistance agency, and this money may mean no days being without funds to help our clients this year," she said. "We have never run out of food, thank God, but sometimes at the end of our funding year we have to put a 'no funds today' sign on the door, while we wait for replenishment of our coffers."

The donation will go a "long way" toward the nonprofit's goal and prevent that from happening this year, she said.

"I don't even know how to explain the difference that will make in our community and the suffering it will prevent," Curtin said.

Sanella pointed to the nonprofits as the people truly making a difference.

"It's really a celebration of these two groups that we're going to be presenting the money to and what they do for our community," he said.

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