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$28,500 grant builds capacity at Buckner Crisis Relief Center

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy

December just got a little cooler at the Buckner Crisis Relief Center.

On December 11, installation was finally complete on a walk-in freezer and a walk-in cooler, something that’s been on Jackie Belt’s wish list for years.

“We look at it as a gift from God that He’s allowed us to have it,” said Belt, director of domestic aid and assistance. “It’s something that we’ve prayed for for a long time, and we’ve dedicated it to God.”

The purchase was made possible through a generous $28,500 grant from the Louis B. and Mary Ratliff Critical Needs Fund of The Dallas Foundation. The grant also purchased a Raymond Easy Rider Pallet Jack that can be driven into a truck to unload pallets of food and other donations.

The center had been relying on 17 standard home refrigerators to store perishable food items. Without adequate storage space, staff had to turn down lots of larger donations of frozen and cold food. Now, the 17 refrigerators will be passed along to Buckner clients who need them, and the center will be able to better serve clients who need food.

“The equipment purchased with a grant From The Dallas Foundation allows Buckner to not only increase the number of people they serve, but also to increase the amount of fresh food – meats, milk, fruits and vegetables – that they can accept, store and distribute," said Laura Ward, director of community philanthropy at The Dallas Foundation. "Providing families with nutritious, fresh food helps meet basic needs AND improve quality of life, and The Dallas Foundation is proud to be a part of that!"

The Buckner Crisis Relief Center served 15,000 unique clients through food aid in 2012, distributing 279 tons of food. With the addition of the walk-in refrigerator, freezer and pallet jack, they anticipate serving at least 10 percent more clients through food aid – and that’s a conservative estimate.

“We are grateful for this generous gift and the increased capacity it will give us to serve at-risk children and families,” said Jerilynn Armstrong, gift officer for Buckner Foundation. “It truly is a transformational gift for our crisis relief program.”

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