Young readers and local food were the big winners of a special Soldotna City Council meeting, where council members voted to award two $1,000 grants for the city’s current mini grant cycle.
Applicants were given the opportunity to present to city council members during Wednesday’s special meeting. Council members then voted on who they would like to receive the grant. Awards are limited to $1,000 per recipient per fiscal year.
Margaret Gilman presented on behalf of the Greater Kenai/Soldotna Imagination Library, which received one of the $1,000 grants awarded Wednesday.
The Greater Kenai/Soldotna Imagination Library is an affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, an international program that gifts books to children each month from birth until they turn 5, or 60 books in all.
Gilman wrote in the program’s mini grant application that almost 1,000 children on the Kenai Peninsula receive books each month through the local affiliate, which has operated since 2009. While the program’s nationwide participation rate is 1 in 10 eligible children, Gilman said 30% of eligible children participate on the central Kenai Peninsula.
The $1,000 received through Soldotna’s mini grant program, Gilman wrote, will be used to pay for the cost of books, which run program administrators $2.10 each per child per month. The program also partners with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Title I schools to make libraries and resources available to parents.
“Greater Kenai/Soldotna Imagination Library improves the quality of life and literacy awareness in our area,” Gilman wrote in the mini grant application. “A child in our program will have a personal library of 60 books by the time they enter kindergarten.”
The Harvest Moon Local Food Festival also received one of this cycle’s $1,000 mini grants. The annual festival, which this year will be held on Sept. 16, bills itself as the largest one-day farmer’s market on the Kenai Peninsula.
“Our desire is to support and increase physical, mental and emotional health of the larger community through healthy eating,” the application says. “We also want to support the economic health of the Kenai Peninsula by promoting the local food culture.”
Jeanette Pedginski, who submitted the group’s grant application, said the $1,000 would be used for festival advertising, musician stipends and activity materials for the festival’s kid’s tent.
In all, nine groups submitted applications for funding consideration this mini grant cycle. Other applicants for this cycle’s mini grants included the Kenai Peninsula Peace Crane Garden Trails, Treefort Theatre and Pulse Point Education, along with Kenai River BBQ LLC, Lakeside Falls LLC, a handmade card business and an Alaska-based veterans activity organization.
Programs eligible to be funded through Soldotna’s mini grant program include those designed to improve the quality of life of the community, to preserve and promote the area’s history, to provide basic human needs or to improve health services, among other things.
Programs ineligible to be funded through the grant include those that support a political candidate or issue, religious programs or events, large programs that may require years to complete or travel requests for groups or individuals, among other things.
Wednesday’s special Soldotna City Council meeting can be streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.