Saturday, August 11, 2001

Center gives out food despite cuts

USDA commodities distributed

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Two months after it was barred from the federal program, the cash-strapped Northern Kentucky Community Center is again distributing food to low-income families.

        The private nonprofit agency in the former Lincoln Grant School, 824 Greenup St., resumed distribution of food Tuesday.

        Available items include canned chicken, pears, apple sauce, pinto beans, macaroni and canned corn, said Don Glass, the Northern Kentucky Area Development District employee who oversees the USDA commodities program in Northern Kentucky.

        “As soon as we get here, they're outside waiting for us,” Rollins Davis, the center's executive director, said of the 130 families who rely on the center's food program each month.

        The community center was cut from the food program in June and July, after laying off staff that included the woman who ran the commodities program.

        The center was allowed to reinstate the program after a staff member and three volunteers were trained on how to run the USDA commodities program, Mr. Glass said.

        At the community center, hours for food pickup are 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

        To qualify for the program, a household with one or two people must have income of less than $931 a month, Mr. Glass said. For each additional person, the income can go up $328 a month.

        To supplement federal commodities, the center also is seeking donations of canned goods, cereals and other nonperishable items, said Shawnie Mack, Mr. Rollins' executive assistant.

        In May, the United Way announced it would no longer fund the community center. In cutting nearly half the center's budget, the charity cited management concerns and the center's inability to show what it had accomplished with United Way-funded programs.

        The $171,167 that would have gone to the center has been set aside for use on Covington's East Side by other nonprofit agencies.

        Mr. Davis said center representatives will meet next week with Covington officials to discuss the status of $36,000 in grants for youth development and day care.

        “(The community center) had let their contract (for the USDA commodities program) expire in the midst of their other problems,” Mr. Glass said.

        The community center is selling bricks for $40 apiece for a memorial walkway.

        For information or to contribute, call (859) 431-5700.


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