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|Franklin CDC in new location|
The Franklin Parish Community Development Center (CDC) officially opened its new location with an open house on Friday afternoon.
According to Mary Chinn-England, director, the facilities in the former Land Bank building next to the tennis courts are more organized and spacious than the former location on Prairie Street.
"We have more room here and it is nicer for our clients," Chinn-England said of the building which contains several offices, a spacious reception area, kitchen and a large work space.
The CDC is an arm of LaSalle Community Action Association, based in Harrisonburg and several social services are provided by the local office.
"We administer LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people with their utilities," Chinn-England said. "We also work with the Community Service Block Grant program."
"If someone is about to have their electricity cut off or is in a crisis, we are here to help them," she said, unabashedly referring to herself as a "beggar."
"If they need the resources, I find it. I call churches, organizations, where I need to get them help," Chinn-England said.
The Winnsboro office is the organization point for the distribution of the Food for Seniors program, which provides boxes of food at no cost to parish residents 60 and older. The CDC also distributes the USDA commodity program.
According to Reginia Wilson, outreach community service representative for the CDC, approximately 1,272 senior citizens receive a food box once a month at either Baskin, Winnsboro or Wisner.
"They are 50 pound boxes that have cheese, milk, cereal, canned vegetables, meat and juice. Sometimes there are other things, it varies," Wilson said.
Nancy Ragland started out as a recipient of the Food for Seniors Program, and now she's a vital volunteer at the Baskin location. Shirley Hewitt helps Ragland distribute about 100 boxes at the Baskin Baptist Church on the first Wednesday of each month.
Dorothy Oliver, executive director of LaSalle Community Action, said the welcoming atmosphere of the new location has a positive effect on the clients.
"When people come here, they see it is bright and positive place. It gives them hope when they come in looking for help, and we can help them," Oliver said.
The CDC is located at 4487 Front Street next to the tennis courts at Davis Park. The phone number is 435-6333.