COMMERCE - Awareness efforts for poverty in the city began to grow in 2008 with the establishment of EPIC, or Ending Poverty in Commerce. Thursday's dinner and forum will be the second gathering of the community members this year.
Participants of this free event, sponsored by the Commerce Ministerial Alliance, will hear from Chamber of Commerce President LaDonna Patterson and Maria Garza, pastor of First Christian Church in Commerce.
In April, Bert Cooper, executive director of Lone Oak-based Community SEEDS led discussion on the issue. At the time, he explained that 22 percent of Hunt County citizens are at or below the poverty level.
He told KETR, “Our discussion focused on who we are as a 501(c)(3) faith-based agency and who we can assist in their endeavor to, again, make a dent in poverty and the need for other services to our community."
Cooper said his organization can provide assistance to Commerce by teaming with the local ministerial alliance, who will deposit funds for reserve specifically for Commerce into the organization. Community SEEDS will then be held accountable by the Alliance to serve any need covered by those available funds, when requested.
Still in existence through the evolution of EPIC is support of the Communities in Schools Program at Commerce ISD and the Commerce Community Garden, as explained by one of the organization's original members, Wyman Williams.
Thursday's community dinner and forum will take place at the First United Methodist Church along Highway 50. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by calling 903-886-3220.