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Lathrop gives biggest chunk of federal money to food bank
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LATHROP – Mayor Kristy Sayles’ statement said it all: “If you’re not eating, you’re not living.”

Her comment was directed at the importance of allotting the lion’s share of the city’s Community Development Block Grant this year to the Manteca-based Second Harvest Food Bank.

“We really need to help them as much as we can” so they can help other nonprofit groups to serve even more people, she said.

In a unanimous vote, the council voted to allocate more than one-third of the $11,250 federal CDBG funds to Second Harvest with the rest of the money divided equally among a total of seven applicants, with the exception of one. The Manteca-based Give Every Child a Chance tutoring program, Boys and Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop, Women’s Center of San Joaquin County, San Joaquin County’s Human Services Agency, Lathrop Parks and Recreation Department and the Stockton Emergency Food Bank were approved allotments of $1,041.67 each, with the San Joaquin Fair Housing program receiving $1,000. Percentage-wise, though, all of the other recipients with the exception of Second Harvest each received nine percent of the grant pie.

Money allocated for the city Parks and Recreation department is for the youth scholarship program.

Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo’s first choice was the allocation option that gave 19 percent of the money, or double the amount approved, each to Second Harvest Food Bank, Parks and Recreation and the Human Services Agency. Her main concern was the service to seniors that the county Human Services Agency provides.

“Seniors should be as comfortable as possible. It’s our job to make their last years as comfortable as possible and not take anything from them,” she explained.

In response to Council member Christopher Mateo’s inquiry as to what the Human Services Agency actually does, Council member Robert Oliver who is the city’s representative on the agency’s board, said the program runs the Meals on Wheels which delivers nutritious hot meals to seniors’ homes.

“They have other programs but this particular (CDBG) funding is for that,” Oliver said.

Council member Sonny Dhaliwal did not take part in the discussion and vote due to a conflict of interest. One of his daughters works for Give Every Child A Chance.

In making their decision, council members instructed staff to give them four allocation options to choose from. One option was to divide the funding shares equally among the applicants, while another was based on citizens that are being served by the programs. The fourth option originally favored by Salcedo was based on allocations approved in the past.

Block grants are federal funds that are funneled through the counties to the various cities in their jurisdiction.