We are so excited about this year’s Banquet. Our theme this year is BRANCHING OUT AND TAKING ROOT. Mayor David Goins and his wife Sheila will be our Hosts for the evening, along with Mike Roberts former weatherman of KSDK as our MC. Come join us for a great evening with guest speakers sharing about how they have taken ROOT at RFM and are now BRANCHING out to serve this community. This event is free. Table space is limited so get your tickets now.
February 25, 2021
Today Governor Pritzker and DCEO announced $11m in Rebuild Illinois Shovel Ready Site grants awarded to 11 new development projects across the state. These investments will unlock over $50m in total investment in the state – creating 800+ jobs and unlocking long-term economic growth and community benefit for years to come. Projects include enhancements for transit hubs, community centers, affordable housing, business training centers, and more. For more info: https://wsiltv.com/2021/02/25/gov-pritzker-announces-11-million-in-rebuild-illinois-capital-grants/
Tammy Iskarous, the Exec. Director of RFM stated, “We are so thankful to be selected as a recipient of this grant. We want to thank the Governor and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for believing in the work that RFM continues to accomplish in Madison County. With this grant, RFM will provide more space for each organization, and further opportunities for training and education. RFM will be able to serve and strengthen more individuals, youth, children, and families affected by trauma. RFM will also add additional services and programs to our team of already incredible organizations.”
Investments are part of the Governor’s historic $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan – aimed at modernizing infrastructure and bringing new investments to every corner of our state. Learn More: https://bit.ly/3cGMtHv
Mrs. Iskarous continues, “Not only will the expansion help strengthen families and the organizations that are housed here, but this money will also be such an economic boost to the Riverbend area as well as all of Madison County, by putting over 100 people to work at prevailing wages. Again, many thanks to the Governor and the DCEO for the opportunity to provide economic growth and community benefit for years to come.”
WOOD RIVER — Members of the National Guard in Madison County to aid flood fighting efforts this week received free meals and supplies from area residents. Since 2007, Riverbend Family Ministries of Wood River has worked to help those in need when they need it. That goal this week has meant providing supplies and breakfast, lunch and dinner to members of the National Guard. On Wednesday, the non-profit organization fed 13 soldiers at noon. They’re expecting that number to nearly double by Saturday.
Angie Betts, one of the group’s members helping with the project, has been touched by the response from the community. “People have sent everything from bug spray to laundry, sometimes even cash,” she said. “I’m very happy with the response of the community.”
On May 30, Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler signed a proclamation declaring Madison County a major disaster and asking Gov. JB Pritzker to provide the National Guard to aid in its flood fighting efforts. Prenzler sought help monitoring the county’s 44 miles of levees as the Mississippi River nears its anticipated crest of 38.4 feet on Friday. In May, Pritzker signed a proclamation declaring Madison County and 33 others as a disaster.
On May 31, he activated 200 members of the National Guard due to flooding. On Tuesday, he activated another 200 members for flooding. “As we continue to strengthen our levees in west-central Illinois, we must also plan and prepare for this force of nature to move downstream to our southern Illinois communities,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “These soldiers will help not only bolster our current numbers on the ground, but allow us to pre-position key assets in downstream communities to prepare for what’s to come in the days ahead.” At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Mississippi River was at 37.83 feet in Alton. Flood stage at Alton is 21 feet. The record height of 42.72 feet was set on Aug. 1, 1993. As the crest neared, the city-constructed floodwall in Alton appeared sound with very little water on the dry side as businesses pumped water from basements back to the river.
Click here for full news article.
When: Friday, February 22; 7-10pm
Where: Best Western Premier Alton-St. Louis Area Hotel
We have 32 tables available and they usually fill up within the first two weeks. There are 8 per table, $20 for each player. Bring your own food & snacks, beverages can be bought there.
► Trivia with a Twist is a lot like the television show Jeopardy!—except that you don’t buzz-in and don’t put answers in question form.
☺There are three rounds: Jeopardy & Double Jeopardy (each with 5 categories, each category with 7 questions) as well as Final Jeopardy.
☺ Questions are more difficult and worth more points as you work down the board, and as you move from Jeopardy to Double Jeopardy.
► Trivia with a Twist allows you to wager any or all of your accumulative points in two ways:
☺ Wager on Daily Doubles (1 in Jeopardy; 2 in Double Jeopardy) and on the Final Jeopardy category.
☺ In each case, tables will see the category and their point totals before making their wager. When all wagers are submitted, the question is read.
► Trivia with a Twist even throws you a curve with Mulligans!
☺ there are 13 categories, but only 10 Mulligans . . . so use them wisely. However, you can’t use them on Daily Doubles or in Final Jeopardy.
☺ Mulligans are limited to 1 per category, and 5 each for both the Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy rounds.
Riverbend Family Ministries’ Tammy Iskarous was recently included among a select group of women honored as 2018 Women of Achievement.
Iskarous is one of 10 extraordinary volunteers from the St. Louis metropolitan region to receive the 2018 honor. The St. Louis Women of Achievement Award, which was founded in 1955, is the oldest, ongoing program in the area whose sole mission is to honor and recognize the volunteer service and volunteer leadership of women.
“A hard-working volunteer who has clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours and believes there is always she would be the first one to tell you that there’s more work to be done,” the St. Louis Women of Achievement announcement said of Iskarous. “She had a vision to bring smaller nonprofits all under one roof in order for them to work together holistically for families in crisis due to violence, addiction, homelessness and poverty.
“She founded Riverbend Family Ministries, an incubator model of care that has been recognized by leaders in Madison County and Illinois. She has served on the boards of other nonprofits, including YWCA-Alton, Wood River Library, Phillips 66 Community Action Panel, Wood River Business Alliance, Wood River Women Club, and was a past Wood River Rotarian and PEO. She is active in her local church and has a strong voice in the mission work that is done through her congregation.”
Iskarous was chosen for her “social enterprise.”
“The Women of Achievement Class of 2018 is a strong, inspiring group of women who have decades upon decades of impactful volunteerism,” said Women of Achievement President Gwendolyn Packnett, Ph.D. (Class of 2006). “It’s truly an honor for us to recognize these outstanding women and highlight the many years and many ways they’ve donated their time, energy, talent and leadership to enhance our region’s nonprofits and make a noticeable difference in the community.”
“The annual luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is our special way of celebrating the honorees alongside their families, friends, civic and community leaders, and nonprofit organizations they volunteer with,” said Phyllis Langsdorf, chair of the 2018 Women of Achievement Luncheon. “Not only do the honorees receive their awards and enjoy a gourmet lunch, but we also feature a 30-minute video about the honorees and their history of volunteer service. It’s a touching gesture that reminds us of the power and unity in volunteering.”
Women of Achievement honorees are selected from nominations from the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Metro East Illinois, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the betterment of the St. Louis region through voluntary contributions, volunteer leadership and a significant breadth of a volunteer career. Women of Achievement considers nominees with significant volunteer impact in areas such as, but not limited to, education, arts, health and human services, youth and family, philanthropy, social justice and advocacy. For additional information about the awards, luncheon and honorees, please visit www.woastl.org.
Refuge is hosting their 3rd Annual Ask Event. They invite you to attend and learn more about the mission of Refuge. Refuge’s Executive Director, Erin Bickle, along with special guest speakers will talk about what Refuge means to the community.
*Attendance is free
*Dinner will be served
*RSVP to email@example.com
Click here to learn more!
Riverbend Family Ministries Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous and Refuge’s Executive Director, Erin Bickle are visiting an orphanage in Egypt called, The Littlest Lamb. They provide a safe environment for children who’ve lost either one parent or both and give them the necessary tools to be leading members of the Egyptian society.
Iskarous says this will not be her first trip there, she went there a few years back with her husband, “We walked the halls of this orphanage and have seen just how loved these children are by the staff and care givers,” Iskarous said. “The Littlest Lamb caregivers are all intentional about the safekeeping and emotional stability of these kiddos that otherwise would be left to fend for themselves on the streets of Egypt.”
Iskarous said her and her husband had planned on going back for another personal mission trip ever since they left, but this time they wanted to share the experience with friends. She thought, who better to share it with than, Refuge’s Executive Director, Erin Bickle and her husband? They’re using this trip as a personal mission trip with intentions to share their knowledge and also take away knowledge that they learn from the amazing the team at The Littlest Lamb.
“I am not only excited to be able to take friends there to witness The Littlest Lamb’s great work, I am blessed to be able to share with them the people and culture I love,” said Iskarous. “We’re honored to be able to go over and train their team to be more trauma informed and focused, which they’re already doing so well.”
“I’m so honored to take part in this experience, I feel like our values align with their cause and we’ll learn a lot from each other,” said Bickle. “Children are our future and protecting them is everyone’s job.”
According to their website, there are an estimated 1 million orphans in Egypt and an additional 3 million street children. In Egypt, adoption is not recognized, therefore these children do not have many options. But this non-profit provides these children with shelter, food, clothing, education, attention and love. Their building can house up to 150 children and caretakers. It also has a library, computer room, dining room and kitchen.
Similar to Refuge’s holistic strategies, The Littlest Lamb believes in the following: home, education, health and well-being, instill values and social skills. Their number one goal is to lead the children to become leading members of the Egypt society and end the stigma that goes with being an orphan.
If you’d like to learn more about The Littlest Lamb, visit their website: www.littleslamb.org.
Riverbend Family Ministries (RFM) received a check from Restore Decor for $5,000. This check is from their fundraiser on July 22 at their store locations in downtown Edwardsville. The volunteer store manager (and brains behind the idea), Dana Adams said RFM’s fundraiser helped them break a sales record since opening their stores a few years ago.
“We’re beaming with joy and feel honored to receive this check,” said RFM Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous. “Restore Decor is such a gem in our community, not only do they restore some amazing furniture pieces, they give back to the community, touching so many lives.”
Like RFM, Restore Decor relies heavily on their volunteers, especially since they need to paint and restore dozens of new furniture pieces each week. “Anyone can walk in and help us paint,” said Adams. “We’re in our main store on Main Street every Tuesday and Thursday evening painting and can use all the help we can get, even if you don’t like to paint, we have something for you to do.”
Restore Decor hosts a fundraiser for different non profits and organizations in the community once a month. If you would like to volunteer, or have furniture you’d like to donate, call 618-980-2018 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Where: 223 N Main Street & 111 N 2nd Street
- Painting parties: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Retail hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays
The Alton Exchange Club members wrote their last check to a local nonprofit at their final meeting. After serving the Alton area, they finally decided it was time to shut down their doors. For their final meeting, the group invited Erin Bickle, Executive Director of the local nonprofit, Refuge to speak and handed her a check for $6,000.
“Our mission has always been to look out for our youth, that includes ensuring they have a safe environment to learn and grow up in, and that’s why we were really impressed with the work Refuge does in our community,” said Roger Queen, Alton Exchange Club President. “After reading about Refuge in the newspaper, I knew it was a worthwhile program and we had to help them out.”
Back in 1976 the National president of The Exchange Club created a cause called, “Prevention of Child Abuse,” and setup centers throughout the United States to work with families in need.
“My eyes filled up with tears as they handed me the check,” said Bickle. “Their dedication in making sure the youth are looked after and have a safe environment to thrive in motivates me even more to do the work we do, and that’s to keep children in a healthy environment.”
Bickle says we typically parent how we were parented until we learn a different way. The Refuge program helps break that cycle with their weekly child/family therapy sessions and the ten week parent education classes.
“We’ve been serving the Alton area for more than 90 years, so it’s sad to close our doors, however, learning about programs like Refuge makes us realize the community will continue some of the most important values the Exchange Club represents, and that’s looking after our youth,” said Queen.
Refuge is located at the Riverbend Family Ministries office downtown Wood River at 131 E. Ferguson Ave. If you, or someone you know is interested in their services, call (618) 251-9790.