MUSCATINE, Iowa — Crossroads Inc. is planning a carnival that it hopes will not only be fun for the community, but will also help with some potential funding issues down the road.
Crossroads offers employment training, day habilitation and community living assistance, and though it's been in Muscatine for 45 years, executive director Linda Wilson said she thinks people still aren't aware of it. The carnival is intended to not only help raise awareness of the agency, but raise money too, which will be used to expand the services the agency offers.
The carnival is the first large fundraiser Crossroads has held in quite a while, according to Wilson. So why hold one now? The answer goes beyond expansion of services: the agency may become more dependent on the help it can get from the public in just a few short years.
Accounting Supervisor Shannon Walsh said that county funding for the agency is set for the next two years but it's up in the air after that — funding could be reduced or eliminated altogether, due to a choice on the state's part to more specifically dictate how the county can spend its money in regards to mental health services.
Services like Crossroads offers aren't on the new list of services that the county is required to fund and while the county knows it has enough extra money to continue helping Crossroads while also meeting the new requirements for the next two years, it can't make guarantees after that point, because funding on the state level may decrease.
In 2013, funding from the county accounted for 20% of Crossroads' total funding, with Title XIX (i.e. social security), grants and donations, subcontract income and participant fees making up the rest. The agency had $1,448,976 in operating expenses last year.
Walsh said she hopes that the carnival will become a repeat event for the agency.
The carnival will be held from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at Crossroads, 1424 Houser St., and will include bounce houses, bingo, a 50/50 raffle and clowns as well as games like a dart throw, a cake walk, ring toss and a bean bag toss.
The agency still needs at least 20 more volunteers to help run the games, said Walsh, who added that volunteers needn't stay all day, but can just volunteer for a 2 1/2 hour shift if they'd like. To volunteer, contact Walsh at 563-263-3545.
There will also be food at the carnival — including pizza, popcorn, snow cones, ice cream, chips and cookies — and a silent auction with items donated from River’s Edge Gallery, Feather Your Nest and Fresh Vintage as well as an Xbox 360 and gift certificates for Riverside Casino and Fridley Theaters, among other things. Tickets for the games and the food will be $1 a piece and there is no admission charge to the carnival.
"The entire family can come out and have a good time," said Walsh. "We hope to see everybody there."