December 16, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Hundreds of Southern Illinois children will enjoy a brighter Christmas this year thanks to the charitable donations of area residents.

Jo and Glenn Poshard, representing the Poshard Foundation for Abused, Abandoned and Neglected Children of Southern Illinois on the John A. Logan College campus, and former River Radio personality Pat Benton, doled out more than $60,000 to 22 different social agencies that tend to the needs of area children.

Kathy Morales, manager of the Dollar General Store in Carbondale, added to the festive mood of giving with the donation of more than 200 toys of all shapes and sizes.

“We were given the opportunity to choose the charity we wanted to work with this year and we chose the Poshard Foundation,” Morales said. “The staff was fully behind me. Everyone wanted to do it and so we really pushed for it. I was pleased that we were able to give away several boxes of toys.”

Carbondale High School senior Kathryn Jackson was also in the spotlight as she donated dozens of stuffed animals that she had collected from friends and fellow students. It marks the fifth year she has been involved in a toy drive.

“Kathryn has a community-minded spirit,” Jo Poshard said. “She and her mother, Sally Jo, have volunteered for our Foundation for many years, going back to when Kathryn was in elementary school in Giant City. She took charge of the entire stuffed animal drive, organized it with the cooperation of some teachers, and brought all the animals to our office. I admire her desire to help abused children.”

Poshard also paid tribute to Vienna’s Lula Ann Mount and Pat McCann, as well as other members of the Countryside Christian Church, for donating several beautiful hand-made blankets for children.

The Pat’s Kids Christmas toy drive was initiated in 2002. With the help of the Poshard Foundation, thousands of children in the region have been served the last 12 years.

In fact, even though Benton retired last year from River Radio, he raised enough money to pay for this year’s toy giveaway. Area caseworkers got involved, helping to purchase and wrap the gifts over the years.

“Since we began working with the Pat’s Kids project in 2002, we have helped over 15,000 children at Christmas,” Jo Poshard said.

Glenn Poshard described the work that Benton did through his morning radio program as nothing short of a “miracle” for needy youths.

“Pat has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that have gone to the most vulnerable children in our area,” he said. “Somebody had to step up that was a personality in this area – somebody that people knew and trusted and Pat was that somebody. He would come on the air three or four hours every morning during the holiday season and talk about the need that we have here in Southern Illinois. And people responded so much that this past year they gave enough money to last for two years.”

Benton deflected the praise to the Poshards, their staff, and the agency case workers of the region who work directly with the children.

“We asked the people of Southern Illinois for help and they did,” he said. “And they will continue to help if we ask them. As long as people know the money’s going to the right place, they will give. I don’t know of any other charity where 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to the benefit of the child. That’s something we can all be proud of thanks to the volunteer work of so many of you here.”

John A. Logan College President, Dr. Mike Dreith, said the college is proud to lend assistance to the project.

“I can’t think of a better way to exemplify our core value of service than to affiliate with the Poshard Foundation,” he said. “We make sure they have an office unfettered by overhead costs.”
For more information about making a donation to the Poshard Foundation, call 985-2828, X8564 or email Jo Poshard at joposhard@jalc.edu.