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CRRC Food Pantry Scrambles for Funds as COVID-19 Tightens Its Grip on Canyon Lake

Valerto Texas Open's Champions fore Charity Golf Tournament was canceled over COVID-19 concerns, but its donation website page will stay up for the foreseeable future. "Charities fore Champions" page allows anyone, whether in Canyon Lake or anywhere in the United States, to make donations directly to the CRRC, whose motto happens to be "Supporting the Community with Your Support."

The Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake (CRRC) says it is feeding more people on less money and funds are urgently needed to keep its Food Pantry running.

The charity saw a dramatic uptick in the number of clients it served in March as COVID-19 tightened its grip on the area economy.

CRRC fed 78 new individuals in 31 new households. Many former regulars, who haven’t needed help in months, returned for desperately needed groceries.

This resulted in a 51.5-percent increase in clients over March 2019 and a 20.6-percent increase over first-quarter 2019.

CRRC Development Director Maureen Schein said she’s extremely grateful to volunteers, mainly seniors, who are working to keep the Food Pantry operational, but worries about what the future holds for the people they serve.

“We’re just not sure how to plan for this kind of prolonged crisis,” she said. “Will we have to provide more food-loads to our semi-regular families? Will we have to cut down on the amount of food we provide? We just don’t have answers to those questions right now.”

CRRC is referring residents who need help with rent or utilities to the Comal Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) in New Braunfels so it can focus on providing food assistance.

Right now, the area charity is running $40,000 behind. COVID-19 forced Big Give San Antonio to cancel its annual fundraising initiative. CRRC had counted on receiving $65,000 from this event alone.

Adding to the CRRC’s shortfall headache is the toll the virus is taking on its popular CRRC Thrift Store, which accounts for 52-percent of its annual operating budget. Under orders by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the thrift store’s last day of operation is Wednesday, April.

The San Antonio Food Bank, which helps with CRRC shortfalls in food supplies, also is feeling the pinch.

“We really are not knowing what support we will have in the long run from the San Antonio Food Bank,” Zumwalt said. “They have had some lean times in years past, and we know they are working to provide what we are asking for. But in the event we have to go to the open market, we will need our funding for those additional costs.”

Senior Citizens on the Frontline

Schein describes the CRRC as the place where retirees turn to give back to their community.

“Our seniors have huge hearts,” she said. “Most of them keep on coming to serve. The ones who have had to take a leave have some health issues — or their spouses do. I consider that they’ve made a tough decision. But I would rather have them back, alive and healthy, than to consider the alternative.”

To protect CRRC and its customers, CRRC last week restricted access to its facility. Only volunteers and staff are allowed inside. Customers now call in their orders and pick them up on the back dock.

“We’re continuing that manner of service in an effort to minimize the contact, and the risk, for everyone,” she said. “We all miss seeing each others’ faces. I know the customers used to enjoy interacting with our volunteers, and vice versa. I’ve seen some precious friendships form over the years.”

How You Can Help

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Valerto Texas Open’s Champions fore Charity golf Tournament was canceled over COVID-19 concerns but kept its donation website page open.

The “Champions for Charities” page allows anyone in Canyon Lake or anywhere in the United States to make donations directly to the CRRC, whose motto happens to be “Supporting the Community with Your Support.”

Valero is waving credit card fees and will add seven percent to each donation.

‘It’s actually a ten-percent bonus, when you figure in we don’t have to pay that three percent or so in bank fees,” Zumwalt said.

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