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Darrs issue matching donation to Council of Churches

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Southwest Missouri philanthropists Bill and Virginia Darr issued a matching donation to the nonprofit Council of Churches of the Ozarks Inc.

Through the pledge, the Darrs will match up to $50,000 in monetary gifts to the nonprofit during May, according to a news release.

Council of Churches Chief Development Officer Christine Moses said via email this morning the nonprofit so far has raised $8,590. She said the organization is working primarily through social media to garner donations for the campaign. The nonprofit also is working with restaurant partners including Fazoli's and Big Whiskey's.

Fundraising and the donation match from the Darrs go toward Council of Churches' Ambassadors for Children program. The initiative provides essential services for foster children and their families, such as clothing, baby cribs, car seats and food, according to the release.

“Just because we can’t gather together, doesn’t mean we can’t come together to continue to help foster children and foster families,” said Rick George, interim executive director for Council of Churches, in the release. “We are grateful for the Darrs and all the donors that inspire hope for the foster children we serve.”

Moses said the nonprofit is observing social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic. Officials have implemented online and phone orders, as well as curbside pickup, for emergency needs for foster children.

"As necessary and needed, we have masks that are available for all CCO volunteers and staff that have been made and donated by volunteers – namely CCO member church groups," Moses said via email.

Council of Churches ranked No. 11 on SBJ’s 2019 list of the area’s largest charitable nonprofits, with 59 employees. It also reported an operating budget of $6 million.

Late last year, the nonprofit announced the retirement of the Rev. Mark Struckhoff, its longtime executive director.

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