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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – The Food4U Food Pantry is the third recipient of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund.
“It’s a big blessing,” Food4U Food Pantry Director Sandy Koepke said. “It’s going to be wonderful.”
Childress Municipal Development District (CMDD) Executive Director Doc Smith said the Food4U Food Pantry will receive $32,528.50 to purchase a new walk-in cooler/freezer for their operations.
“This is a much-needed unit for them,” Smith said. “The food pantry gets excess produce from United and Walmart, but they don’t have adequate storage for it. They need a good cooler/freezer unit.”
The Food4U Food Pantry provides food for 250 families, which includes 420 individuals, a month, Smith explained. After taking the lowest bid, they are in the process of ordering the walk-in cooler/freezer.
“Now they can get extra food to distribute,” Smith said.
Koepke is ecstatic. She said she will be able to organize the meat by separating beef, chicken and pork. This will allow her to take inventory faster. She will also be able to put daily intake in current freezers while having room to store the other food in the new freezer.
It will help with holidays too. Koepke said they get freezer items that are pre-made like gravy and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.
“We can organize it much better,” she said. “It will cut down on time too. We are so thankful.”
The first two recipients of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund were announced in December 2020, Smith said. Childress County Christmas Sharing, Inc. received $18,000, and the Childress Women’s League Backpack Program received $15,500.
“One by one, we’re going through what the needs of Childress are,” Smith explained. The CMDD also received requests from Childress Meals on Wheels and CASA of the Rolling Plains with other local programs to be added to utilize the entire $135, 071.80.
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. Smith said using Federal Community Development Block Grant funds to create a Revolving Loan Fund encouraged economic development in Childress.
Smith said B3R Country Meats received the first loan. After it was repaid, numerous economic development projects were funded over the last 35 years.
On Monday, Nov. 16, the Childress City Council held a public hearing to discuss the Texas Community 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 requested 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. Childress Christmas Sharing, Inc., Childress Women’s League Backpack Program and a new walk-in cooler/freezer for the Childress Food Bank were the first requests submitted.