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Second Harvest seeks $10,000 from Lathrop
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LATHROP – Second Harvest Food Bank, which provides food to untold numbers of hungry individuals and families every year, is asking for $10,000 from Lathrop’s Community Development Block Grant program.

Funds for this program come from the federal government are funneled through the counties to the communities in their jurisdiction.

The amount Second Harvest is requesting though is just about 90 percent of the total amount that Lathrop has to allocate. This year, up for consideration are eight agencies including the Manteca-based food distribution program.

But the Lathrop City Council and some residents did not have any problem with the request from Second Harvest. As Planning Commissioner Dan Mac Neilage pointed out, if statistics show that 400 Lathrop residents benefit from the nonprofit organization’s services, he said he is sure that the actual number is double that number and perhaps even more.

Not that the council members had any doubt about that. Mayor Kristy Sayles that as a child care business owner, she is the first to know when individuals and families need help when they lose a job or can’t make their mortgage payments. She said  she herself has referred countless numbers of them to agencies such as Second Harvest.

The reality though is that Second Harvest is not the only one that has applied for a slice of the CDBG funds this coming fiscal year 2009-2010. The two other programs that received the most attention and endorsement for the amount of outreach service that they do in the community are the Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls Club and the Manteca-based mentoring/tutoring program, Give Every Child a Chance.

The mayor said she was inclined to approve the third option offered by staff which gave Second Harvest the lion’s share of $4,000 out of the service amount of $11,250 that the city can allocate. The rest would then be equally divided among the others at $1,041 each with the Fair Housing program receiving $1,000. The rest of the applicants besides Second Harvest, GECAC, Boys and Girls Club and Fair Housing are the San Joaquin Women’s Center, Stockton Food Bank, the city Parks and Recreation and Human Services Agency.

The third option highlighted Second Harvest with the suggested allocation of $4,000 because of the need for food by many families in these hard economic times, it was pointed out. Sayles pointed out that in Lathrop, those that are benefiting a great deal from Second Harvest include the Senior Brown Bag which distributes food to low-income seniors, the Commodities Program which also provides low-cost food to seniors, and Food for Thought which rewards food to students who are taking part in an after-school tutorial program.

“Food is a primary need,” Sayles said.

Tuesday night was just a discussion of the needs of each of the agencies that had applied for the federal funds. The council will vote on the actual distribution of funds at a future meeting.