Helping Panhandle children in need through Pantex’s Community Grants
Consolidated Nuclear Security established its Community Investment Fund in 2016 at Pantex. The Pantex Fund is a partnership with the Amarillo Area Foundation, which assists in the distribution of funds, and from the beginning, Pantex created an employee advisory committee to determine distribution of the grants.
One of those recipients is the Amarillo Children’s Home. They have been operating for almost 100 years, focusing on restoring the lives of children in the Texas Panhandle. The majority of their funding, about 70 percent, comes from community support, and the remainder is made up from state contracts.
According to ACH Director of Development, Erica Currie, “Our mission is restore the identity of children, so they can realize their great value and be a blessing to others. We believe this is the birthplace for creating generational change in the Texas Panhandle. Because of community partners like CNS Pantex, ACH has been restoring those lives. You make our work possible, and we are so grateful.”
This year, the Community Investment Fund gave $10,000 to ACH and the entire amount was earmarked to its “Feed the Tummy, Fill the Soul” program. “Around 30,000 Texas children are currently in foster care, and securing resources for each child is challenging,” said Currie.
“Most foster children have been exposed to conditions that undermine their chances for healthy development, and their needs are great, including the need for nourishment. While this is not surprising, the way ACH uses a simple meal to help transform lives is unique.”
ACH's house parents use mealtime to bring everyone together to teach valuable life skills, like nutrition, team work, planning, cooking, table setting, and etiquette. The house parents and children work together to plan, cook, and serve nutritious meals, and everyone has a role to play. Around the dinner table, families talk about their day, and each child is engaged on a personal level. As a child begins to feel loved and accepted, doors open for them to excel in other areas like school.
“While feeding children is simple, ACH uses it as an opportunity to also feed a child’s soul, to love on them, and to remind them that they have not been forgotten. This is paramount in breaking the cycle of abuse that is prevalent in today’s foster care system,” said Currie. To Pantex employees, she said, “Thank you for partnering with us as we care for our children, allow them to see their great value, and teach them to be a blessing to others.”
The Pantex committee prioritizes grant applications from organizations located and operating in the 12 contiguous counties surrounding Pantex, with the emphasis on: Basic Needs, Child and Family Development, Education, Community Development, Financial Literacy, and Health and Wellness. In four years, including the latest round of grants, CNS has given more than $860,000 to area non-profit organizations through the Amarillo Area Foundation.