River Valley Regional Food Bank Receives $150,000 from the Walmart Foundation

September 29, 2014  |  Uncategorized

River Valley Regional Food Bank Receives $150,000 from the Walmart Foundation

Award Will Provide for New Refrigerated Food Donation Truck

River Valley Regional Food Bank today received a $150,000 contribution to assist with receiving retail store donations. The grant – which was given to the non-profit organization through the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program – will give the food bank additional refrigerated pick up capacity from grocers and restaurants, allowing the food bank to better serve the community.

“This gift is nothing short of a miracle from heaven,” said Ted Clemons, the food bank’s director.  “Our current truck has over 120,000 miles on it and is in need of continual repairs.”

The grant was presented to Mark Whitmer, Executive Director of Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. (C-SCDC) during a check presentation ceremony held today at the River Valley Regional Food Bank. During the ceremony, Whitmer thanked the food bank’s grocery and restaurant partners, the Walmart Distribution Center in Clarksville, financial donors and the West Central Arkansas volunteer army of hunger fighters.  “We could not do what we do without the local passion for helping others,” he said.

The food bank began operations 28 years ago as a program of the C-SCDC.  The food bank has rapidly grown in the last five years as food donations rose to meet increasing need for food assistance. In 2008, the food bank distributed 3.2 million pounds of food; last year – $7.5 million.  The food bank serves eight counties in West Central Arkansas – Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Scott, Sebastian, Polk and Yell counties.  About 307,000 live in these counties, of which, 52,610 people are considered food insecure, and of which 22,740 are children.  Feeding America estimates 9.2 million meals are missing from the diets of West Central Arkansans.

“The Walmart Foundation is very pleased to be supporting the River Valley Regional Food Bank, and is committed to helping that in need in the communities where we serve,” said Michael Lindsey, Walmart Director of Public Affairs. “Through this grant, we are hopeful that needy residents in the River Valley will have additional opportunities to receive the food that they need.”



Thank you Delta Dental

November 8, 2013  |  Uncategorized

Delta Dental has been a strong and loyal supporter of the Community Dental Clinic for the last 10 years. Clinic Director Nenya Perry proudly displays a check for $20,000 which will go toward supplying dentures to the residents of Crawford and Sebastian counties.

Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. Awarded NeighborWorks® Membership

June 3, 2013  |  Uncategorized

Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. Awarded NeighborWorks® Membership

Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. Will Receive

National Affordable Housing Boost

Fort Smith, Arkansas –  Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc., announced its new membership in the national NeighborWorks® network. This significant achievement, which involved Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. meeting high organizational health and performance standards, enables the organization to gain access to a powerful battery of training, research, technical assistance and funding opportunities.

 “We are excited that CSCDC’s 35 years of housing experience are being joined with the 35 years of technical expertise that NeighborWorks America has.  Together, we can do more than we ever thought possible.”, said Mark Whitmer, Executive Director of CSCDC.  “Being a member of NeighborWorks America means our organization is top of the line and we are ready to utilize NeighborWorks assistance to do great things in Arkansas.”

CSCDC mission is to make improvements for low income families and the communities in which they live with the final goal for our clients being self-sufficiency.  CSCDC has been incorporated since 1965, but has been working in housing since 1978.  In just the past two years CSCDC has done significant work in housing:  We provided homeownership education and counseling to more than 2000 families, helping many of them buy their first homes.  We helped over 270 households make emergency or energy efficiency repairs to their homes. This year alone, we have placed 60 literally homeless families into housing of their own.  We provide financial management classes, homebuyer education, and default counseling empowering our clients to make sustainable housing decisions.

Now accepting applications for our Self Help Program.

May 8, 2013  |  Uncategorized

Now taking applications for our next group of qualified clients to assist in building their own dream home through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Let us help you make your dream of home ownership a reality. Payments are based on income and often times can be less than your rent. We are also pre-selling lots in our Bluebird Addition in Cedarville. Call Michael at 479-785-2303 ext 109 or text 479-353-9079 or email mfuchtman@cscdccaa.org for more information and for an appointment.

One of the many styles of homes to choose from.

Area Agency Helps Families Come Home

September 10, 2012  |  Uncategorized
<p>BRIAN D. SANDERFORD • TIMES RECORD</p><p>Briana Shaw reads with her son Kain Wiginton, 2, at their new home in Alma. Shaw participated in the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council’s Mutual Self Help Housing program and recently moved into her new home, which she was able to personalize by selecting a floor plan, paint colors and finishes.</p>

By Pam Cloud

Times Record • pcloud@swtimes.com


Thirty-three thousand dollars.
That’s a pretty hefty sum of money — one that would make a decent down payment on a nice home.And that’s the amount of money the average renter throws away over a five-year period renting a house or apartment for $550 per month.Home ownership can be achieved, even if a limited income seems to be what’s holding someone back.
Through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program of the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, two more families were able to relax in their own homes — homes they designed and customized — last week after pouring hours of their own “sweat equity” into the four-month construction.Briana Shaw and her son, along with Robyn Gregory and her two children, now each have a house to come home to in Alma, moving in the last week of August.And coming home is exactly what Shaw has liked most about her new home.“It’s a place to call home,” said Shaw as she watched her 2-year-old son, Kain, play on the wood floors. “Knowing this is ours and knowing Kain can go to school here in Alma. My son can actually play in a yard.”
As a single mother, Shaw’s limited income would never have allowed her to buy and build a home without the assistance of the CS-CDC’s housing program, which has provided 54 homes in rural Crawford and Sebastian counties over the last seven years, according to Linda Gabriel, community outreach coordinator for the nonprofit.“Her house payment for a three-bedroom, two-bath home is less than her rent was for a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment,” Gabriel said. “Plus the fact that she already has $17,000 in equity in this home.”That equity comes in the form of “sweat equity,” with the homeowners becoming involved in the construction.“They were here every day or every other day working, so we didn’t have to pay a sub-contractor to do that,” Gabriel explained of the Gregorys and the Shaws, which included Briana’s father, Keith Shaw of Van Buren. “They laid the floor; they did yard work and picked up shingles. The sweat equity counts as a down payment.”Gabriel said the energy-efficient homes are made possible through a grant from U.S.D.A. Rural Development, which extends the mortgage through very favorable rates.“Briana didn’t have to come up with a down payment or closing costs,” Gabriel explained. “Every dollar she saved toward the house, we matched it with $3,000 up to $4,000.
She earned that by taking eight hours of a financial fitness class.”Shaw got to select her own property in Crawford or Sebastian counties (the cities of Fort Smith, Van Buren and Barling are excluded from the program), select her own floor plan, select paint colors, choose light fixtures, doors, door handles and finishes.“It’s everything I wanted within my income limit,” Shaw said of her 1,300-square-foot home.And because every house is customized to each homeowner, no two look the same.“You can’t look at the house and say it’s a Mutual Self-Help house; they’re all different,” Gabriel added.Shaw changed the configuration of the peninsula counter in the kitchen, added a pantry and an extra window in the living room and opted for a two-car garage and wood floors throughout the home. Stainless-steel appliances help complete the kitchen. She has cucumber green paint on the walls in the kitchen, a calming light taupe in the living room and halls, a soothing gray in her master bedroom, a purple hue in her master bathroom and bright red in Kain’s “Cars”-themed bedroom.“It’s personalized and customized,” Gabriel said.The CS-CDC, which is the Community Action agency for this area, extends multiple programs to help individuals and families of modest means become more financially self-reliant, according to Gabriel. Other programs include homebuyer education, down-payment assistance, credit repair, foreclosure counseling, weatherization and other homeownership programs.
 They also have Individual Development Accounts to help with down payments, college tuition and small business start-ups. For information, call CS-CDC at 785-2303 in Fort Smith or 262-6994 in Van Buren.The housing program has very reasonable income limits, making it available to many people. The 2012 income limit for a single person living alone is $27,100, and for a household of two, the limit is $31,000.“Not enough people are taking advantage of the program,” Gabriel said. “It’s ridiculous to pay so much in rent. Utilities are so high on rental units because they’re not insulated well.”But Briana and her father know exactly how much insulation was installed and where the electrical lines are behind the walls, because they were there when the walls went up.Keith Shaw is very excited for his daughter and grandson.“I’m really impressed just with her getting a house, especially already having that much in equity,” Keith Shaw said, adding that after 10 years in his own home, he had only accumulated $2,500 in equity. “That just floored me.”