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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Childress County Christmas Sharing and Childress Women’s League Backpack Program are the first approved recipients of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund.
Childress Municipal Development District (CMDD) Executive Director Doc Smith said the CMDD and the City of Childress are happy to announce Childress County Christmas Sharing will receive $18,000, and Childress Women’s League Backpack Program will receive $15,500.
“This money is a tremendous gift to Childress County Christmas Sharing,” said Raenell Smith, TITLE at Childress County Christmas Sharing. “Our mission is to be able to help the less fortunate and that every child has a Merry Christmas.”
Smith said this grant money will be used to increase the amount of assistance they can provide for those they serve in the Childress community. She said they purchase everything they can provide locally.
“This money stays right here in Childress,” she said. “We feel very blessed that Childress County Christmas Sharing was considered for this grant.”
This grant started in 1986, when the City of Childress entered into a contractual agreement with the Texas Department of Community Affairs, which is now administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Doc Smith explained. Using Federal Community Development Block Grant funds to create a Revolving Loan Fund encouraged economic development in Childress.
B3R Country Meats received the first loan. After that loan was repaid, Smith said numerous economic development projects were funded over the last 34 years.
On Monday, Nov. 16, the Childress City Council held a public hearing to discuss the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund Closeout Application. The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the submission of a Texas Community Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund Closeout Application that requests the use of the $135,071.80 locally.
To close it out, Smith said they had the choice of finding projects preapproved by Texas Department of Agriculture that benefit low to moderate income individuals, abused children, elderly persons, battered spouses, homeless persons, severely disabled persons or illiterate adults.
The initial requests to be submitted for Texas Department of Agriculture’s approval and funding are Childress Christmas Sharing, Inc., a new walk-in cooler/freezer for the Childress Food Bank, Childress Women’s League Backpack Program, Childress Meals on Wheels, Childress Women’s Council Shoe Program and CASA of the Rolling Plains with other local programs to be added to utilize the entire $135, 071.80, Smith added.
“Receiving these funds will help our organization continue to feed our backpack families and help families in need,” said Shelly Preston, president of Childress Women’s League. “This year we had to cancel our annual fundraiser Eat wild due to the virus. We all feel so very fortunate that our organization was approved to receive these funds.”
Preston said they will continue to spend locally and will use this money to purchase food, nonperishables and personal items for the families in need.
“It will allow us to continue to serve our community and add more commodities,” she said. “Things are changing every day for families during the pandemic. In the year of 2020, this truly was a gift and such good news.”