Brad Jackson of Jackson Electric in Marble Falls is grateful he’s still working, but he knows others aren’t as fortunate as businesses have shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The business owner and electrician rounded up friends in the building industry to create the Blue Collar Benevolence Fund through the Community Resource Centers of Texas. The fund assists those struggling financially by helping to purchase food, pay utility bills, and even fill up gas tanks.
“I started it because I’ve seen so many people around here who have lost their jobs and still have mouths to feed,” Jackson said.
“And I encourage anyone who’s working and wants to help out, they can donate to it,” he continued. “I went ahead and donated some H-E-B gift cards, so if someone needs to buy food, they can use those, but I also put some money into it, so if someone has a bill coming and they need some help, well, it’s there.”
CRC of Texas Executive Director Donna Klaeger said the organization has other financial support mechanisms in place. The Community Resource Centers of Texas is a “one-stop shop,” providing office space for local, state, and federal government assistance programs as well as a variety of nonprofits.
“Sometimes, you need $125 for a utility bill or $25 for gas or $25 for some food,” Klaeger said. “We want people to know we’re here to help. Our goal these days is to help people get to the next step. We can’t fix the entire problem, but we can help a little.”
Usually, Klaeger said, the offices — serving Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties and Liberty Hill — are full of people helping and receiving help, but since stay-at-home orders went into effect to slow the spread of COVID-19, regular duties also have slowed down.
But help is still available. Those in the Marble Falls area needing assistance can call 830-693-0700 to get started. People reaching out go through a qualification process.
The CRC of Texas also teams up with local churches to help those in need.
Along with providing financial assistance, the Marble Falls office is serving as a central drop-off and pickup point for handmade cloth face masks. The Burnet County Community Emergency Response Team recently sent out a request for people to make and donate the masks to help prevent the virus’ spread.
“They’re asking for 10,000 masks,” Klaeger said. “We get calls from people who are making the masks and they need materials. So people can bring material by and drop it off.”
The entire community must come together in times like these, Klaeger said. She added that people such as Jackson and the other Blue Collar Benevolence Fund donors make the Highland Lakes stronger.
Contact the Marble Falls office of the CRC of Texas at 830-693-0700 for more information. The temporary Marble Falls location is 300 Avenue N. Office hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The CRC of Texas has three other locations across Central Texas. Those can be reached at:
Llano County Community Resource Center, 325-247-2703
Blanco County Community Resource Center, 830-868-0208
Liberty Hill Community Resource Center, 512-548-5091