SONORA -- More than $250,000 in grants from the Sonora Area Foundation will help keep Jamestown families intact, provide food for people in need and enhance staging for a theater company, among other things.
The Jamestown School Family Resource Center received $40,000, along with the annual Irving J. Symons Award, named for the foundation's founder.
The other $211,000 was the foundation's allocation for the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Jamestown center provides after-school activities, tutoring, transportation, school supplies, food, clothing, parenting classes, adult education classes and other services.
The center will use the grant for a new community garden and teaching kitchen and for a food pantry that supplies more than 170 families.
A $100,000 grant to the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency will help make up for reduced federal funding for its food bank next year.
The same agency got a $25,000 grant for its youth mentoring program, which matches 20 to 30 children each year with adults trained to provide guidance.
An $18,000 grant went to ReHorse Rescue Ranch, near Jamestown, which will use it to provide winter feed for more than 40 horses and donkeys recovering from abuse or neglect. They are part of a program in which foster youths learn how to care for animals.
A $25,000 grant went to Smile Keepers, which provides about 3,500 schoolchildren with dental screenings and preventive care each year. It is a challenge grant, meaning the program will try to raise an equal amount from other donors.
Catholic Charities received $20,000 to help coordinate and improve senior services through the new Community Cares Coalition.
A $5,000 grant will help pay for interpretive signs about pioneers who came west across Sonora Pass in the mid-1800s. Two will be along Highway 108 near its 9,628-foot crest. A third will be at Burst Rock, along a trail east of Pinecrest Lake. The Tuolumne County Historical Society and the Stanislaus National Forest are part of the effort.
Stage 3 Theater Company in Sonora received $18,000 to upgrade outdated lighting and sound equipment in time for its 2013 season.
The foundation has more than $25 million in assets, including the affiliated Irving J. Symons Foundation and Symons Family Fund.
Symons, who died in 2004, owned the Hales & Symons feed, hardware, lumber and propane business in Sonora. The company, founded in 1898, was sold to J.S. West & Cos. of Modesto in 1998.
More information on the foundation is available at (209) 533-2596 or www.sonora-area.org.