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Sunday
July 05th, 2020

genesis donation from black hillsSeward County United Way Director Clarissa Carrillo, second from right, accepts a donation of food from Black Hills Energy last Tuesday for the Genesis Family Health commodities program. Courtesy photoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Food is always a need, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased that need to even greater levels.

Last week, Liberal’s gas provider helped ease the demand for food with a delivery to the local Genesis Family Health office. 

Black Hills Energy Ambassador Eric Smalldridge said company officials decided to do a food drive for a month and donate food to local cupboards around the state, with the local choice being the commodities program at Genesis.

Smalldridge said the decision process was made during an ambassador call, and he then went to Seward County United Way to deliver the news and the food.

United Way Director Clarissa Carrillo said local officials are thankful for the donation from Black Hills.

“Any little thing helps right now, especially with so much need that we have, and with this whole pandemic, the need just increased,” she said. “We’re very grateful for Black Hills, and they’ve been a huge supporter with not just food, but monetarily too. They’ve been great.”

Normally, food is given out at Genesis every other month, but with the pandemic in place, distributions will be taking place once a month through the remainder of 2020. Carrillo said she believes the Black Hills donation will be of great help to the community, and she hopes it will go to people who need it right now.

“When we started, the very first food drive we had, we were just shocked by the number of people who came in,” she said. “Now with having this monthly, we see the numbers balancing out, so we are seeing how we’re helping, and it’s making a difference. We’re hoping we can continue to do the same.”

Along with Genesis and United Way, the Liberal Area Coalition for Families were part of the distribution last week, and Carrillo said with resources being limited in single agencies, having multiple agencies working together was the right way to go.

“As one agency, we only have so much we can give, but when you have all these agencies coming together and putting in the resources each of them have, and putting everything together, it makes a bigger impact,” she said. “I’ve always been a huge believer that when we work together, we make a bigger difference.”

As for what recipients of the boxes will get, Genesis’ Julie Foster said every distribution is different, and it depends on what the state gives out for that month.

“It can vary from canned foods to proteins, but it’s all healthy food,” she said. “This month, we’re getting some protein like pork and chicken, and we’re getting canned goods like tomato soup, fruit, vegetable soup. It’s a variety of food, and it just depends on what the state chooses to send us.”

Genesis has had the commodities program for several years, and distributions are made in Liberal and Garden City. Foster re-emphasized the increased distributions because of the pandemic.

“The state got approved to make distribution available once a month for the rest of the year,” she said. “Those folks who have applied and are on commodity lists, instead of getting food every other month, they will get food on a monthly basis once a month.”

Foster said those interested in applying for commodities can certainly do so.

“There are income guidelines, but the good thing about applying is your application will stay with us for a year,” she said. “For a year, you will be able to get that extra assistance you need or your family needs opposed to getting food just here and there. It’s a year of assistance. Once that year comes up, I will send you a letter to reapply and renew it. For that, you just need proof of income. We ask for an ID, and it just to verify.”

Those wanting to apply can talk to Foster at Liberal’s Genesis office at 121 W. Third.

“It’s a very simple application, just basic information – name, number, address, household size and information on household numbers, along with  proof of income,” she said. “We have income guidelines, and I just check that they are under the income guidelines because it’s just for low income families.”

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