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ADM Cares on Thursday showed its generosity by donating a total of $56,000 to 13 different local and area organizations.

“That’s something we are very proud of,” said Steve Dewald, plant manager of ADM's ethanol dry mill at 3000 E 8th St.

Dewald said ADM Cares is a longtime company initiative to give back to the communities employees call home. He said the team worked hard surveying the community and interviewing prospective company representatives in an effort to understand the needs of each organization.

This year, the ADM Cares team decided to narrow down its search to encompass organizations either working toward advancing sustainable agriculture, increasing food security or investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, which directly reflects the company’s focus areas. Moving forward, recipients will be judged on the same criteria, ADM production engineer Heidi Oswald said.

Organizations that have needs fitting these criteria were subsequently nominated to receive funding ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.

“So that was challenging for us just because we couldn’t give to some of the organizations we used to give to, but it did really open up doors for us to find out where we can find organizations that meet those expectations,” Oswald said.

Some local organizations benefiting from ADM Cares include: 1C The Sanctuary, Platte County Food Pantry, Columbus After School Program and Scotus Central Catholic schools. 

“It’s amazing, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Regina McDuffee, member of 1C The Sanctuary and chairperson for the church’s Community Meal on Thanksgiving. McDuffee represented her organization on Thursday to receive the check.

McDuffee said the church hosts a community meal annually on Thanksgiving providing hearty meals to roughly 600 community members. She said the grant will help cover half of the expenses for the meal which includes turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and sweet corn.

“So it’s great to be nominated and supported,” McDuffee said.

McDuffee said this is the second year her church received funding from ADM Cares for the community meal.

“I think it’s important for every organization to support, volunteer and to give back to the community because the community supports our businesses,” she said.

In addition to Columbus organizations, Schuyler After School and Backpack programs also received dollars.

Oswald said it’s important for area businesses to support the community and vice versa.

“Our employees have kids or relatives or are somehow benefiting from a lot of these organizations so really, it’s just to give back to the community and to give back to our employees,” she said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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