The Generosity of Many Supports Saint Francis’ Work

August 2020 · Donor Stories, Hi-Lites, Kansas, Ministry News

It’s difficult to enumerate all of the gifts that have impacted Saint Francis during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful and honored by community support that makes it possible for us to continue to provide the best, most supportive care for children and families.

For instance, McCormick Distillery, like many distilleries, switched their production, and then donated 15 gallons of hand sanitizer. Great Plains Manufacturing in Salina also donated hand sanitizer.

Mahaska Bottling Co. donated 1,500 sports energy drinks to staff at Salina West residential facilities, while Dillons grocery donated $10,000 in gift cards to help feed foster and kinship families in Kansas and Nebraska who are struggling during the pandemic. It is impossible to list all who stepped forward to help through donations of time, materials and dollars.

Saint Francis also was the grateful recipient of several grants that supported the work we’re doing.

The Kansas Health Foundation granted Saint Francis $25,000 from its Impact and Capacity Grant fund to help expand the organization’s tele-video capabilities for Outpatient Behavioral Health Services. When the pandemic required social distancing, Saint Francis moved many of its services online, including therapy and substance use treatment. This helped clients continue to receive needed services in the safest manner possible.

Salina Regional Health Center also gave $10,000 to support telehealth.

“It is imperative we continue building our telehealth and telecommunications infrastructure now in order to provide effective services that will keep clients and employees safe,” said Tom Blythe, president and COO. “We anticipate that COVID-19 distancing measures will be utilized far into the future. It’s important to continue treatment and progress while maintaining safety and stability in the home.”

The Salina Area United Way granted $1,000 to support kinship and foster families with urgent needs.

“Kinship families that Saint Francis serves are often older relatives, and they frequently are on a limited income that doesn’t allow for fluctuations in demand on their resources,” Fr. Bobby said. “Foster and kinship families may not have the resources to transport students to receive free meals being offered by community resources or they may be quarantined and unable to go out.

“We are appreciative of the Salina Area United Way for having such a strong understanding of what situations like this mean for vulnerable families and for stepping forward to meet critical needs in our community,” he said.

The Greater Salina Community Foundation met needs of the Salina West Residential facilities through a $3,618.75 grant for sanitizing services and purchase of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

“Salina West provides essential in-patient treatment for children and youth with severe behavioral and mental health needs,” said Jerry Slaight, executive director of residential services. “This much-appreciated grant will help us manage costs of the deep cleaning and sanitization necessary and will also meet needs for additional PPE we have ordered.”

Among the PPE being purchased are thermometers, which are used to check staff as they report for shifts and to regularly check residents, surgical face masks, and supplies to make masks.

As part of their continuing support to St. John’s Ministries & School, a subsidiary of Saint Francis, The Soule Family Foundation graciously donated $25,000 for the purchase of telehealth IT equipment and PPE during the COVID-19 period. The Foundation made the donation in honor of Donna Vanier, a philanthropist and committed supporter of St. John’s Military School, who passed away in May 2020.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is far-reaching, and everyone has assuredly felt concern as the country responded to shelter-in- place orders, strained resources, and anxiety and stress.

“Through the pandemic and in the coming months, Saint Francis is grateful and honored to be supported and to be reminded that we all belong to each other,” Fr. Bobby said.

“I turn as I often do to the words of Desmond Tutu, who said, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours. We belong in a bundle of life.’ I am grateful to belong, in the midst of the unique challenges we’re facing, on the same path with so many who find their hearts called to help.”

If you are interested in supporting the increased needs brought about by COVID-19, donations can be made online at by selecting the Crisis Response Fund.

This story was originally published in the June 2020 HiLites. Follow us on social media to learn more about what we do!  Facebook and Twitter.