Festival's impact mushrooms
● By Steven Hoffman
The 2015 Mushroom Festival took place seven months ago, but the impact of the event is being felt throughout the year.
In this issue of the Chester County Press, you can read about the reception that the Mushroom Festival recently held for the 47 local non-profit organizations that are receiving grants from the festival this year. The approximately $85,000 in funding that was handed out to the Kennett Area Parks and Recreation Board, the Meals on Wheels program, the Kennett Fire Company, the Oxford Arts Alliance, the ALS Society, and the 42 other organizations came from the proceeds of the 2015 event.
These organizations will take the grant money that they receive and use it to the maximum benefit to help children, senior citizens, and numerous groups that serve the community in important ways. The Avondale Fire Company will be purchasing a radio that will be useful for interior firefighting. The grant to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County will be utilized to support the satellite office in Kennett Square. The Chester County SPCA will purchase pet food so that low-income families can care for their pets.
Children in the community will benefit directly in a number of different ways by organizations that received funding through the Mushroom Festival's grant program.
Head Start of Kennett Square will use its grant money to purchase book bags and school supplies to give to children who are heading to kindergarten. The Kennett After-School Association will use its funding to offset after-school transportation costs for students in the After-the-Bell program. The Kennett Education Foundation will use its money to fund educational grants for educators and students in the Kennett Consolidated School District. The funding to the Kennett Area YMCA will be used to purchase program materials and supplies, and to pay for field trip admissions and busing for its summer camp. The Lighthouse Youth Center received funds to purchase the incentives that students receive after meeting specific goals throughout the year. The Garage’s grant will allow them to purchase supplies for the Kennett Square and West Grove youth centers. The grant to the Tick Tock Early Learning Center will pay for supplies and special activities to enhance its curriculum.
The community as a whole will benefit from the grants, too. Historic Kennett Square uses the funding that it receives to help stage the enormously popular Memorial Day Parade. Meanwhile, the Kennett Area Parks Authority will use its grant money to produce the Summer Concert Series at Anson B. Nixon Park. The Unionville Fair received funds to support children’s entertainment at the fair. The Kennett Fire Company received grant money to purchase two AEDs (defibrillators) for use on their vehicles. Lives will likely be saved as a result of that purchase.
Examine everything that is accomplished with the grant funding and it quickly becomes apparent that the impact of the Mushroom Festival is significant. With the $85,000 this year, the Mushroom Festival has now distributed a total of $805,000 to non-profits in the area. Those non-profits have, in turn, multiplied the impact of that funding on the community with their programs and services. It's great to celebrate the fact that Kennett Square is the Mushroom Capital of the World, but the impact of the Mushroom Festival is far greater than that.