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A Lake Geneva businessman who has donated more than $2 million to children and elderly people through his organization, The Time Is Now, has announced a county-wide program through the Lake Geneva Regional News.

The founder of The Time Is Now, who wishes to remain anonymous, will distribute $1,000 a week for the next 52 weeks to needy residents and families throughout Walworth County.

People who wish to be considered, or who know someone who could use the charitable funds, must submit a letter to Box WC, Lake Geneva Regional News, P.O. Box 937, Lake Geneva, 53147.

Letters should explain the reasons why the people being nominated need the funds. The authors of the letters and the recipients will remain anonymous.

Staff members at The Time Is Now will verify the requests and rewrite the letters for publication on page 5 of the Regional News. The letters will be rewritten to guarantee the charity recipients will remain anonymous to everyone except the founder.

Nomination letters must include contact information for The Time Is Now founder, who will be the only person who knows the identity of the recipients and the letter writers.

The founder said letters should be addressed to Box "WC," which stands for "Walworth County" and for "With Christ." It is because of his personal commitment to Christ that the founder wishes to remain anonymous.

As a young man, the founder said he made a commitment to Christ that he would give as much aid as he could to children and the elderly.

"I grew up and out of moments of poverty through perseverance and hard work. Because I have personally experienced what it is like to be in need, I made a vow to God long ago to diligently work to help those who are extremely poverty stricken — specializing in children, elderly and the handicapped — those who cannot fend for themselves," the founder stated.

When he became a successful businessman, the founder was able to allocate more than $2 million of his personal funds during the last 13 years to southern Illinois residents in the economically depressed Hopkins Park.

Following national publicity of that venture, which was initiated while the founder was driving through the area with his son, The Time Is Now began accepting donations.

"Every cent donated to The Time Is Now goes 100 percent for food, blankets, pillows, mattresses, utilities that have been disconnected, toiletries, shoes, clothing, coats, diapers, shelter, equipment for the handicapped, etc., — all the necessities of daily life," the founder stated. "Your donation will help comfort those in pain and suffering. Not one cent goes toward salaries. Not one cent goes toward reimbursement. Not one cent goes toward auto expenses, etc.

"For years I have been personally donating to help the needy, especially children and the elderly. I used to donate through other organizations, but when I asked for and received financial statements I was shocked to see how much money went toward overhead. So, I started to give directly to the needy people, knowing that not one penny went for anything or to anybody except to the poor people in genuine need."

People who wish to make a contribution to The Time Is Now may send them to P.O. Box 70, Pell Lake, 53157.

Food pantry project

One of the first projects undertaken by the founder after he returned to Hopkins Park — which is what he promised his son after their drive through the area, which was littered with dilapidated shacks — was stocking the shelves of the local food pantry.

At the time he became involved, the pantry was operating on a budget of $200 a month.

As well as establishing a fully functioning food pantry, the founder planned and constructed a six-home subdivision for the Hopkins Park residents. He also provided the funds for moving a woman and her three children from a hotel to a new home after their former trailer home burnt down. Another project initiated by the founder was the purchase of $6,000 to $8,000 worth of textbooks for an elementary school.

The Time Is Now also works with community centers to help provide job training and educational opportunities.

"I feel good about life ... I feel good about myself when I do this," the founder stated on a Chicago television program that aired after his Hopkins Park projects received national attention. "I see the common thread that runs through all people ... calls for help very often go unanswered."

Although he has spent more than $2 million of personal funds, the founder is anxious to give more where needed.

"I'm not even scratching the surface and I feel hurt that there aren't more people out there helping their fellow U.S. citizens who are starving and hurting."

"Some children are abandoned by their parents due to lack of money needed to raise, cloth and feed them. Broken hearts and torn families are a way of life among the poor. Their life is burdened with constant sorrow," the founder stated.

Although the organization concentrates its efforts on the elderly and children, the founder said consideration will be given to anyone who is in need of charitable funds.

For more information, visit The Time Is Now Web site at helpthechildrenandelderly.org or call 249-7000.

Information packets also are available at the Regional News office, 315 Broad St., Lake Geneva.

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