Development Council surprises WM woman with Christmas tree

CRDC, Judge Wheeless reach out with holiday cheer

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

A surprised West Memphis resident Latisha Robinson smiled as she received a Christmas tree from Crowley’s Ridge Development Council Wednesday. She won the tree in a drawing from those Crittenden County residents that completed the Assurance 16 training offered through CRDC. Judge Woody Wheeless was one of eight County Judges that serve on the CRDC board and they had a tree decorating contest. The tree was complete with ornaments and a red ‘Crittenden County’ gold glitter bedazzled ribbon. Wheeless presented the tree to Robinson on behalf of the CRDC. “What Crowley’s Ridge Development is all about is helping people in low income,” said Wheeless. “Utility assistance, weatherizing homes, transportation and food programs is what the CRDC is all about.” Community Action Agencies like the CRDC were born out of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1964. The CRDC has been around since 1969 and started with three counties and a $35,000 budget. This year the agency operates an $8 million dollar budget with funds flowing through state government from the federal agencies like HHS and the USDA. CRDC Executive Director Tim Wooldridge provided an overview of the agency and gave details about Assurance 16 training. “We have an outreach at 111 East Jackson in West Memphis,” said Wooldridge. “We offer a host of services from energy related assistance to food assistance. We are a community action agency. The Judge provides leadership as part of the board along with eight county judges in our service area as well as Justice and Realtor Lisa O’Neal.” The director touted the results of the program. “Assurance 16 is an energy assistance program,” said Wooldridge. “It provides budget training and counseling about various energy savings that benefit families. You’ll find that those who go through it have much lower energy bills moving forward. “

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