Kern County residents gave big yesterday to Give Big Kern raising over $200,000. The top of the leader board is a newer non-profit that many may not know about. Independence Through Grace raised over $20,000 thanks to 52 donors. The founders of this program say they never expected the outpouring of love and money from the community.
On the corner of F Street and Truxtun Avenue a group of 11 participants gathered today for a weekly bible class. Launched in October of 2016 Catherine Waldon along with her husband founded Independence Through Grace. This nonprofit is a faith-based enrichment program for adults with special needs, which includes cooking, art, music and dancing classes, focused on not only faith but socialization.
“As I looked around for what I wanted to do with my son there were not any faith-based programs and I wanted to have that incorporated,” said Waldon. Only having been operational for about a year Catherine wasn’t sure her non-profit was worthy of asking for donations when Give Big Kern was happening last year. “At the time we were so new that I wanted to be able to prove that what we were doing was really good in the community so I never felt like the lord was calling us to fundraise,” said Waldon.
But this year they decided it was time. Community members started making donations through Give Big Kern on April first. The donations started coming in that first day. As of last night, the nonprofit was number one in donations, having raised over $20,100. Something Catherine never expected.
“Our primary goal was to get the name out about Independence Through Grace. And the secondary goal which was a huge blessing was that people started donating,” said Waldon. Catherine said all 52 of her donations came in hundreds at a time and were all through word of mouth around the community. “We are overwhelmed with the generosity of our community, we had no idea that we would receive so much money, it’s been a huge blessing,” said Waldon. A blessing that will go toward funding their classes.
When it comes to a big purchase on the horizon Catherine says that will still take a lot of thought. “We will definitely prayerfully consider that because we had no idea that we would raise this kind of money,” said Waldon. But for now the sum of the 20 thousand dollars will be directly deposited into their checking account. So they can continue to help the special needs members of our community through socialization and faith. Independence Through Grace says that if you want to give back but can’t give money they are always in need of volunteers. To apply to be a volunteer click here.