African Violet Foundation continues community work

The African Violet Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that helps middle and high school students and their families in Fairfield, Pekin and Van Buren community schools, is continuing its work in the community.

A work day to complete the demolition of the interior of the former Lord?s Cupboard building to make way for the future home of The African Violet Boutique: Where Fashion is Free for those in Need is planned to get under way at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The foundation purchased the building at 52 South B St. several months ago and has been in the process of gutting the building and redesigning the space.

Because the organization is relying largely on donated labor and materials, the process has been a long one, said Staci Wright, founding member and president of the foundation. Plans are for the boutique to open by late winter or early spring.

Those who would like to volunteer Saturday are asked to bring masks, wheel barrows, scoop shovels, trash cans, brooms, dust pans and shop vacuums.

Lunch will be provided to all volunteers.

Volunteers should contact Wright at or Margaret Wilson at 472-5594 so they will know how many people are planning to help.


Caring Through Clothing

The African Violet Foundation will host its annual Black Friday Caring Through Clothing Event 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 24 at First Baptist Church in Fairfield.

?Because we held a Back-to-School Caring Through Clothing Event in August, we will not be giving away clothes at this event,? said Wright.

Instead, the organization will be giving away: coats and snowpants, winter hats, mittens and scarves, and boots.

Plans also include giving away free laundry detergent, fabric softener and bleach, one per family, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Plus, new underwear and socks, one package per person, will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

?We will also be awarding one washer and dryer grant to a family in need,? said Wright, ?and we will again have a station where children can ?shop? for Christmas presents for their parents and grandparents.?

Donations needed for the Black Friday Caring Through Clothing Event include: coats in sizes for infants through adults; snowpants and coveralls in sizes infant through adults; hats; mittens; scarves; snow boots; winter blankets; and gift items for men and women for the children?s shopping station.

Anyone who would like to donate items can contact Wright at or drop items off on her porch at 305 E. Broadway Ave.

Tax receipts can be presented to those who request them.


Christmas for kids

The African Violet Foundation also will continue its annual Christmas mission in December.

?We hope to provide gifts to approximately 500 middle and high school students at Fairfield, Pekin and Van Buren community schools,? said Wright.

This is the 12th year the organization has provided gifts to students of low socio-economic status, students who have recently suffered a traumatic event and students who have made significant lifestyle changes to better their chances for a successful future. Parents, teachers and community members nominate students to receive the gifts.


New board members

As the African Violet Foundation becomes more active than ever in the community, it has recently appointed four new board members.

Joining the board are Katie Ghent and Sage Richmond of Fairfield, Barbara McRoy of Mt. Pleasant, and Colleen Kimble of Richland.

The four new board members replace outgoing members Lori Vaughan, Matt Jones, Tim Hadley and Jhonna Keller.

Vaughan was an original board member and served as board treasurer for a decade. Jones has served as the board?s vice president for the last several years. Vaughan, Jones and Hadley will remain active serving on the charitable organization?s Christmas committee.

Richmond will take over the duties of treasurer, having recently returned to Fairfield after living in Cedar Falls for several years. She is employed as a bank examiner for the Iowa Division of Banking. She has been employed in Region 2 in the northeast part of Iowa, but has recently transferred to Region 1 in the the southeast part of the state.

Board member Sarah Cochran, who has been the board secretary, will replace Jones as vice president. McRoy will serve as the board secretary, and founding member Wright will continue as president.


Foundation support

Those who would like to help The African Violet Foundation in the altruistic work it is doing in the Fairfield and surrounding communities can send tax-deductible donations to: The African Violet Foundation, c/o Staci Wright, 305 E. Broadway Ave., Fairfield 52556.

For information about the foundation or its projects, contact Wright at 319-330-8366.