On Wednesday, June 1, Mayor Wayne Carpenter distributed $295,000 in Nutrition and Food Assistance Grants to local three local organizations: Helping Hands, Belton Senior Center, and Meals on Wheels. A $5,000 grant has also been awarded to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Food Pantry, The Source, and will be delivered soon.
In May, the Belton City Council authorized allocating $300,000 of Belton's American Rescue Plan funding for needed food assistance for community residents.
On Wednesday, when Mayor Carpenter presented the $100,000 check to the Belton Senior Activity Center, the president for its board of directors, Jay Taggart, reminded seniors about a November 2020 grant for $25,000 from the city, which helped seniors with groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senior Center plans to use the latest funds to re-establish its popular senior grocery pick up program.
"We think that this year the need is just as great," Taggart said, adding that the cost of groceries and other goods continues to increase.
Helping Hands Food Pantry received $150,000 in grant funds, which it plans to use to increase food pantry services by purchasing specialty food items for those with allergies or other conditions, establishing a mobile food pantry and delivery, and onsite equipment, Executive Director Alicia Jallah said.
Meals on Wheels plans to use its $45,000 in grant funds to serve individuals on its wait list and expand home delivery of meals in Belton, according to Interim Director Ashley Johnson.
The aid comes from $5.6 million in federal funds allocated to Belton as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which is intended to assist Americans through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, the City Council authorized applying $100,000 in ARPA funding to delinquent city utility bills.
In April, the Belton City Council agreed to make an additional $300,000 in relief funds available to residents in need of assistance with housing, any utilities (electric, gas & water/sewer), internet/phone, or HOP bus services. Residents can apply for up to $3,000 in assistance by filling out an application located on the United Way’s website.
“I’m proud the City Council has chosen to allocate funds to directly assist Beltonians still struggling with the financial impact of COVID,” Belton Mayor Wayne Carpenter said in April. “I appreciate the United Way of Central Texas partnering with us to distribute funds to those in need.”
The Council has also made $850,000 in funds available for Belton small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 3, 2022. Applications are available on the Belton website.