East Texas nonprofits trying not to cut services - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

East Texas nonprofits trying not to cut services

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TYLER (KYTX) - The Smith County Salvation Army was recently forced to cut food services because of funding shortages. While other local non profits haven't cut services yet, they are also dealing with funding issues are fighting to keep services steady.

The meals on wheels food delivered to Edna Hester's door, has become a necessity.


"The older I get the more important they get, because now I am unable to get out and drive. I am also on limited income," Hester says.

Plus, she struggles with yet another issue.

"Since I'm a diabetic, that makes it doubly hard," she says.

It's for people like Hester that Meals on Wheels President Mike Powell is working extra hard to deal with severe sequester funding cuts he found out about last week. The cuts came from the Area Agency on Aging out of Kilgore. It's a national foundation that helps fund the East Texas Meals on Wheels. It comes 9 months into the fiscal year, meaning there are only three months to deal with the extreme cut. 

"The cut is about $74,000 in funding for us," Powell says. "That's about 14,900 meals, which divided over those last three months, is the equivalent of about 240 people a day. So we'll have to figure out a way to raise that additional money locally, or we're going to have to look at whether we'll have to take people off the program."

Powell says seniors who rely on his organization shouldn't worry.
"They need to let us worry about how we're going to fix it," Powell says.

Funding issues for the Red Cross may have them cutting local programs in the future as well. The free swimming program at the Fun Forest Pool in Tyler, every year costs anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.

Tammy Prater with the Smith County Red Cross says the free swimming program isn't one of the mandatory services.

"Disaster services and services to the armed forces," Prater says. "Those are two things that we have to maintain."

So after disasters like the West explosion, and recent tornadoes in North Texas and Oklahoma, extra local services are on the line.

"We've had some big price increases on our CPR and First Aid classes," Prater says.

That could be the only service change, if donations stay steady - something that doesn't always happen in the summer. 


Prater says the best way to donate to the Red Cross is generally, under disaster relief. If you specify a specific disaster, the organization has less freedom to use money to help people who need it the most. 

CBS 19 spoke with other local nonprofits, like PATH, St. Paul's Children's Foundation, and the East Texas Food Bank. Though donations are always needed for these important programs, these organizations are not at risk right now for cutting any programs or services.

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