LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - With COVID-19 impacting a lot of businesses in East Texas, the City of Lufkin’s small business grant program allocated 25 percent of its funds to supporting minority-owned businesses located in low to moderate-income communities.
East Texas News Weekend’s T’Ebonie Tanner reports how a non-profit organization received funding and their plans moving forward.
In Lufkin, JD’s Center of Hope is one of many small businesses to have received grant money due to the impact of COVID-19.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t think we were going to get anything. But because we did, I just said, ‘Lord, thank you’. Good stewardship overall,” said Stephanie Olford, the director of JD’s Center of Hope.
The center offers many services such as a food pantry, a daycare, an after-school program, and in-house educational tutoring services.
“That is our mission. To be able is to be able to reach someone and that we can be able to teach someone,” Olford said. “And then, they can be able to reach and teach someone as we go forward.”
Olford said although their business did not shut down, they did experience a decrease in traffic.
“We had a lot of lack with our attendance of our children for the summer camp,” Olford said. “The afterschool program, as well. There was a lack where the parents pulled their kids out from it, because they didn’t want their kids exposed to COVID -19. Our daycare went from 10 kids, down to two or three kids.”
With the funding they received, they have big plans for the center, starting with their volunteers, Olford said.
“Simply because they didn’t come here for the money. If they did, they would not have been here that long. So, we want to be able to be a blessing to them,” Olford said. “At the same time, make some changes and remodel some things that we had already started doing here at the center. Just expanding our vision and our territory.”
Lufkin’s city manager Bruce Green said 23 small businesses have already been awarded. He said the city plans to award about 40 more eligible applicants in the near future.