Family Crisis Center receives $500K grant

Family Crisis Center Director Margie Harris, center interns Caitlin Wren and Chantel McMullan help organize clothing donated to the center. The center recently received a $509,000 grant. 

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Rexburg’s Family Crisis Center was awarded $509,000 from the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance Friday.

“It’s an operating grant, and it’s one that we’ve gotten ever since I’ve been here – 26 years,” said Margie Harris who serves as the Family Crisis Center’s director.

The money helps the center function and covers more than half of the facility's expenses, she said.

“It supports about 69% of our budget,” she said. “If we had to cut back 69%, I don’t think we would be able to keep our doors open. We wouldn’t be able to keep our office. We would find a way to keep providing victims’ services, but probably on a volunteer basis. We would look very much different.”

Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries, who serves on the council and represents the council’s Region Seven, notified Harris of the award on Friday.

“The lion's share of the money comes from the federal government and victim assistance dollars. State dollars come from marriage licenses and divorce proceedings,” he said.

A total of $9 million was awarded to various programs across the state with $2 million being provided to Region 7. An office of four full-time employees oversees the distribution of the money throughout the Gem State.

“They do the monitoring and training and keep records,” Humphries said. “It’s a lot of money that goes out across the state.”

Humphries noted how much the Family Crisis Center benefits the Upper Valley.

“They do a lot of service there, and have a number of employees. They have a great program there,” he said.

The center provides assistance to domestic and sexual abuse victims. The money will cover employees’ salaries, its 24-hour crisis line, shelter, office, court advocates, support groups, counseling, and referrals.

“Most of our core services — that’s what it supports,” Harris said.

The center also relies on donations such as the $2,000 that Broulim’s donated last week. A local man, who wished to remain anonymous, gave a 2021 Ford Box Van to the center to help deliver food from area grocery stores to the facility for its weekly food bank distribution.

Harris said that the center routinely receives anonymous donations and one that stands out is the $5 in cash it receives at least twice a month from someone who never posts a return address.

“We’ll get this letter in the mail. It’s got this fancy — almost calligraphy lettering on the front. It’s got some kind of cardboard inside, so that you can’t see what’s in it,” she said.

Center workers have started saving the envelopes and plans call to display them.

“They’re so unique. It’s just like the coolest thing. Kind of the assumption is that it’s (from) a lady. It’s maybe an older woman. It could very well be from a guy,” she said. “Who knows? There’s no way to know. You can’t tell from the postmark. It’s just a cool thing.”

While applying for the recent grant, Harris included information about the thrift store as well as the many cash donations that it receives. The combination of such community generosity and its successful thrift store shows those who award the grant that the center is working to help itself, she said.

“Because we have our thrift store, and we have such great community financial support and donations, we’re in much better shape than a lot of programs like ours. We’re not that heavily dependent on just one funding source. That really helped us. They could see they we’re trying to help ourselves,” she said.

The grant funds will be awarded to the Family Crisis Center in July. For more information on the facility visit its webpage at https://familycrisiscenter.wixsite.com/familycrisiscenter or call 208-356-0065.