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31st Annual William & Helen Doyle/Exchange Club Awards

The Sturgis Exchange Club has just announced the latest recipients of the annual William & Helen Doyle/Exchange Club Community Service Awards. These esteemed awards are funded by the William and Helen Doyle Fund, which supports charitable and educational programs that benefit the community of Sturgis. Established in 1991 by a generous gift from William and Helen Doyle, this fund has granted over $130,522 to more than 80 deserving charitable programs since its inception. This year's winners include Sturgis Helping Hands, KeyStone Place Homeless Shelter, and Sturgis Woman’s Club. It is encouraging to see that these organizations are being acknowledged for their hard work and positive contributions to the Sturgis community. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Julie Andrews (Exchange Club President), Sue Furr (Sturgis Woman's Club President), Vincent Laporte (Sturgis Helping Hands Director), Kelli Tackett (KeyStone Place Director), Anna Brand (SACF Programs Manager), Mike Habig (KeyStone Place Director of Marketing/Grant Applications)

KeyStone Place Homeless Shelter:

KeyStone Place is an emergency housing facility governed by a board of directors and operated by a professional staff that works with volunteers. The facility offers services to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in St. Joseph County. Being a non-profit organization, KeyStone relies heavily on the involvement of volunteers to succeed in its mission. The volunteer program is designed to support the facility's mission and provide opportunities for the community to give back. Volunteers are crucial in supporting the guests, staff, and the community in promoting self-sufficiency with respect and dignity. Thanks to the grant from the Doyle/Exchange Club Fund, KeyStone will be able to expand its Beds, Pillows, and Sheets Drive, which will have a direct impact on those coming into the facility, providing them with a comfortable space where they can feel safe and secure. When asked how long guests may stay at the KeyStone Place Homeless Shelter, Kelli Tackett, Director, explained:

"For a long time guests could only stay up to 30 days. Now we look at service plans, and if people are working really hard, such as going through substance abuse classes and working on their barriers, that allows us to extend their stay indefintely."

Annually the shelter serves around 500 people each year, and on average,120 of them are children. This means the community's support is crucial to KeyStone in achieving its goals and positively impacting the lives of the homeless and at-risk populations they serve.

Sturgis Helping Hands:

Sturgis Helping Hands is a valuable organization that provides a crucial service for Sturgis Public Schools students and their families. Vincent LaPorte, Sturgis Helping Hands Director and Principal of Congress and Wall Elementary, stated:

"Our primary focus and vision is to provide food assistance for students and their families who are suffering with lack of food at home over the weekend."

The organization provides food bags filled with non-perishable items to ensure students have access to food over the weekends. This is especially important for students who may struggle with food scarcity on a regular basis. By providing these bags, Sturgis Helping Hands aims to promote healthy nutrition and help ensure students can focus on their studies rather than hunger. The organization is volunteer-based and relies on donations and grants, such as the Doyle/Exchange grant, to fund its programs. Without these critical resources, Sturgis Helping Hands would be unable to provide much-needed assistance to students in need. Through their work, Sturgis Helping Hands helps to build stronger, more resilient communities by supporting the education and well-being of our youth.

Sturgis Woman's Club:

The Sturgis Woman's Club (SWC), founded in 1894, has a long-standing tradition of bringing women together for the purpose of helpfulness. The club's mission is to promote its members' intellectual development and address concerns for education, civic issues, home life, literature, and the fine arts. As an independent non-profit organization, the SWC focuses on volunteer efforts and philanthropic support of various local projects, including the Preschool Literacy program, which aims to provide books to young children in the Sturgis area that are not in the preschool program yet. Sue Furr, Sturgis Woman's Club president, shared:

"Many of these children and families either do not have access to books or the funds to purchase books. Last year the SWC donated 100 books to this program. Early literacy starts at home and we love being a part of getting those books into their hands."

The club's dedication to serving the community has earned them the Doyle/Exchange Grant, which will fund their philanthropy efforts and allow them to continue providing valuable support to the Sturgis area.

The Sturgis Area Community Foundation is a $30M foundation committed to serving the charitable needs of our community and enriching the quality of life for all people in the Sturgis area. Through philanthropic services, strategic investments, and community leadership, Sturgis Area Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about now and for generations.

For more information on grants or donor services, email

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