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Central Illinois Goodwill wins $30,000 to support veterans programs

Johanna Wagner, the Central Illinois Goodwill assistant director of program services, said the grant provides the agency with the means to support veterans throughout the year.

Peoria-based Goodwill of Central Illinois has received a $30,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to support its Veterans Employment Program and the Central Illinois Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event.

This grant was funded by proceeds from the Illinois Lottery Winter Win-All ticket, of which 100% go toward funding programs for veterans.

Johanna Wagner, the Central Illinois Goodwill assistant director of program services, said the grant provides the agency with the means to support veterans throughout the year.

“I think it's really good for the community and listeners to know that our stores, when they donate and shop, 99 cents of every dollar comes back into our programming so we can offer it at no cost,” Wagner said.

This grant will benefit Goodwill's employment program for veterans that can provide the tools for specific jobs, transportation, and professional clothing. Goodwill also offers workshops in mental health support and substance abuse counseling.

“It's an opportunity for us to provide them with the things that they need, and even more so after the hardship that some of our veterans have encountered through the pandemic,” Wagner said.

The Winter Win-All began in 2006. Since then, more than 300 organizations have shared $13 million in funding for their programs.

Eligibility to apply for the cash grants is open to government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans organizations and tax-exempt entities providing or expanding assistance for veterans.

Organizations that are encouraged to apply ideally provide health insurance aid, long-term care, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment or research, disability benefits, homelessness aid and job placement or training.

The Winter Win-All games run from November through February of the next year. Tickets can be purchased for $2 at several retailers throughout Peoria.

In addition to the Central Illinois Goodwill, the Midwest Veterans Closet in Great Lakes, Illinois also won a grant to fund the expansion of its store into a one-stop shopping experience. They plan is to provide food and other goods for veterans.

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Isabela Nieto is a student reporting intern at WCBU. Isabela is also a student at Bradley University in Peoria.