Batavia day care program helped through St. Charles church grant

Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles distributed over $25,000 in grants between nine Kane County nonprofit organizations in December as part of its new Expansive Church Grant opportunity.

One of those recipients was CHIP IN Batavia, which received $3,000.

CHIP IN (Community Helpers Impacting People In Need) is a volunteer organization established in 2013 to support homeless and low-income families in Batavia schools by providing services the district can’t.

Last month, CHIP IN Co-Chair Melinda Kintz said the grant allowed the group to support three families through a new, before- and after-school scholarship program.

Before-school care in Batavia costs over $3,000 per year. CHIP IN will give funds to the Batavia Park District Kids Club to provide day care for the students at their respective schools, allowing them to be with their classmates before or after the school day.

While the before- and after-school scholarship is for students under age 13, CHIP IN has several other programs that support students and families from early childhood through high school. The programs include college and laptop scholarships, rent assistance and sponsoring field trips.

To qualify for assistance from CHIP IN, the parents must be working full-time or going to school, live in Batavia Unit District 101 and have children in school who qualify for the state’s free and reduced lunch program. Families apply for CHIP IN’s assistance through their school’s community outreach program.

Since 2020, CHIP IN has provided 148 rent assistance checks to families. This year, the school district has 106 homeless students, up from 73 last year, according to Kintz.

Kintz said the group aims to ease parents’ financial burdens and allow them to keep their jobs by sponsoring day care and other services. She said 90% of the families they help are single mothers, and by supporting their children’s day care or providing their school supplies, it is just one less thing they have to worry about and keeps them moving in the right direction.

“We’re certainly happy that (Bethlehem Lutheran) started the program,” Kintz said. “It opens naive eyes about the numbers of homeless people and brings awareness to a multitude of issues for Bethlehem. We’re certainly proud of them for taking the initiative to move forward with such a valuable program.”

Bethlehem Lutheran will continue the grant program again this year and hopes to raise more money for nonprofit organizations that benefit the community. Kintz said CHIP IN plans to apply for the grant again this fall.

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