Thank you to KGAN staff who shared information about the fundraiser at Orange Leaf Cedar Rapids NE to support Foundation 2 services on September 25th. If you would like to view the story, click this link.
CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS2/FOX28) – Elisabeth Kissling said it best Monday (9/24) at the Foundation 2 head office.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty,” she said about the past year for the suicide prevention group.
In that time Kissling’s team’s helped many people of all ages in the Corridor who are struggling with depression and suicidal tendencies; a very important mission for the entire community.
“I hope that people watching this or people who hear about us never need our services, but if you do you need them right away,” she said.
That’s why the past year’s been a struggle. While they’ve fought for that mission, Foundation 2 has also had to fight a budgetary battle to keep running at full capacity.
Close to a year ago, state and federal budget cuts took a major toll on Linn County’s mental health system. The system ran efficiently before, but fell victim to $5.3 million in cuts.
“I think it’s been very difficult for consumers, but I think we’ve stabilized at least for the moment,” said Mechelle Dhondt at the Linn Co. MHDD.
To get to stable meant some cuts to services and staff throughout the system, but they hope that will remain a one time deal thanks to Legislative movement late last session.
At that point plans were put into place to reform the entire system by redistricting into more cost effective, and more efficient systems. Leaders say that plan could even bring new services and new funding streams to Iowa’s mental health system.
The big problem: it could take years. Dhondt says there won’t be any major improvement for them until at least July of next year. They are looking into some assistance grants to help out get to there, but otherwise it’s a matter of playing the survival game.
“We don’t want to come in sliding hand over hand or clawing at the end of the year,” said Dhondt. “We’d like to come in looking half-way decent, but I think we kind of can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
For Foundation 2, and a lot of other agencies that’s been the game plan for some time, and the first method in the play book to get there: community support.
They’ve already got a lot of help from groups like the United Way, but the say the best relief often comes from donations and fund raisers.
That’s what they hope prevails again Tuesday when they team up with Orange Leaf frozen yogurt on Collins Road. Starting at 11 am up until close they’ll donate a portion of their proceeds to Foundation 2 and host a food pantry drive for the group. Any one who brings items in for that will also get a discount on their treat.
However Kissling says the help is their real treat. Because of fund raisers like that, Foundation 2 and other mental health services in Linn County have been able to continue operating and offering all or most of the same services they always have.
In a sector as essential as mental health, they say that’s invaluable.
“We have faith that we’ll be able to continue finding things to make this happen, because it is so valuable, but it is hard to know quite what those will be,” said Kissling.
Brian Scott, CBS 2 & Fox 28 News