Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

GIVE achieves official status, plans first event

by Steve Targo

October 18, 2012

GENEVA — Nervous? That depends on who you talk to.

On Friday, Town of Geneva Clerk-Treasurer Deb Kirch and Clerk of Courts Senta Hall confessed that they are.

“I think, with anything new, you’re going to have something to worry about,” Hall said. “This is new to all of us.”

Kirch was the first to admit it. “We’re just nervous,” she said.

“Nervous can be good, though,” Hall said.

Kirch agreed, adding that being nervous makes you think about what could go wrong. “You can prepare for it,” she said.

But there’s a little more at stake for Kirch, Hall and Town Police Chief Steve Hurley. The three behind Geneva Inspires Volunteer Effort are planning their first major GIVE function.

GIVE, which recently became a state-registered nonprofit organization, will host a free Thanksgiving community dinner Thursday, Nov. 8, at Como Community Church.

Kirch said she has volunteered at events in the past, including the town’s FunFestival. But she said then, the pressure of success wasn’t on her shoulders.

“I want this to succeed,” Kirch said. “I want it to be a good thing.”

Hall said to help them prepare for the event, they will watch how the church conducts its annual Thanksgiving meal Oct. 25 — an event she said usually draws hundreds of people.

But over the phone Monday, Hurley provided a take on the event planning that was a sharp contrast to that of his GIVE partners.

“I’m not nervous about it at all,” he said of the Nov. 8 dinner. “I actually feel pretty confident in it (because) it will be a chance for the community to meet those who serve and work for them. Whatever the number of people who turn out for it, I would consider that a success.”

Hall, Kirch and Hurley discussed concerns about how much food to bring and other details which are still being hashed out before the event.

But nervous or not, the trio’s excitement was obvious.

“We don’t really know what to expect, but we’re ready for it,” Hurley said.


Although GIVE gave itself a formal introduction of sorts at a booth in this summer’s town of Geneva FunFestival, the Nov. 8 dinner may be considered the organization’s make-it-or-break-it moment.

Then again, Hall, Kirch and Hurley experienced some success with previous charitable endeavors.

Last Thanksgiving, they were involved in a food drive in which town employees provided six families with 20-pound turkeys and other food.

Previously, Hall said she was so inspired by that success she organized a holiday toy drive/family adoption program, which helped 17 children from five families.

On the heels of two successful programs, GIVE was born.

“We wanted to have a larger impact on the community,” Hurley said.

After publicly announcing the formation of GIVE in May, they set to work on fundraising efforts — specifically, selling GIVE T-shirts at FunFestival and ads on placemats to be used during the Nov. 8 dinner.

Hall said they had to create a business plan to become a registered nonprofit.

“We’ve just become more formal (now),” Kirch said. “It’s progressed.”

But a few ideas helped fuel what will become GIVE’s first community dinner.

Hurley said they had discussed conducting a open house at the town hall to provide people with the chance to meet those who work for them — and those they elected to serve on the Geneva Town Board. He said people will have that chance Nov. 8.

Kirch said town employees and their families will be there to serve and cook. Hurley said town board members also will be invited to attend.

The three principal members of GIVE agreed that unifying the community is a major goal with the dinner.

Hall said it is a chance for people to meet. She stressed this dinner is not only for the needy, and urged people to attend regardless of their financial position.

“This is what GIVE is, a service to the entire community,” she said.

The dinner is set for Nov. 8 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the church, W3901 Palmer Road.

See a future Regional News for more information about the Nov. 8 community dinner as other details are still being finalized.