Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, relief pantries in and around Terrell report a continued elevated need for food assistance to local families.

At the Share Center, Terrell’s largest pantry, Executive Director Betty Glaeser reported that the center is serving roughly the same amount of people as it had in the spring, when it was distributing food to hundreds of Terrell families. During one particularly heavy week in April, the center distributed food to more than 500 families.

Over at the Adopt-a-Block pantry, the numbers have declined but are still above pre-pandemic levels, according to Maxcine Miller, secretary of the Adopt-a-Block board, which is affiliated with Terrell First Assembly.

Job losses have moderated in Kaufman County (there were 167 jobless claims reported on Sept. 27). Still, since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 11,000 people in Kaufman County have filed for jobless benefits, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission. It’s not known how many of those employees have been called back to work or found other jobs.

At The Center in Kaufman, Executive Director Richard Dunn said the agency is serving roughly 450 families once every 30 days from its drive-thru. In partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, it’s serving another 300-350 monthly, according to Dunn. Together with several other programs, The Center helped roughly 1,000 families last month, said Dunn.

Some helping agencies in Kaufman County may be able to take advantage of CARES Act grant funding from Kaufman County, which last week announced it would extend grants of up to $10,000 to eligible non-profits.

In late September, the county announced it would make more than $2 million in CARES Act funding available to school districts in Kaufman County. The state has allocated about $3.8 million in CARES Act funds to Kaufman County. If the money is not spent by the time Gov. Greg Abbott lifts his emergency declaration, the money will have to be returned to the state, County Judge Hal Richards has said.

On March 27, President Trump signed into law a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help combat the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19.

The Center is reviewing whether to apply for a county CARES grant, said Dunn. “I think it’s great, but I’m not sure yet if it will fit with us or not.”

Non-profits can visit the Kaufman County website (www.kaufmancounty.net) for a quick reference to determine if an organization meets the established criteria and to complete the application process.

Applications must be received by Nov. 1 to be considered.

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