Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Patrice Kunesh recently visited Lily PADS Resale Boutique in Peru, IL, a community-supported funding vehicle for two Illinois Valley “Public Action to Deliver Shelter” (PADS) homeless shelters. Rural Development’s 2009 partnership with Hometown National Bank secured a loan guarantee, which PADS used to construct a new retail facility that enabled the organization to warehouse and sell goods from one location. The store has been so successful that Lily PADS recently expanded its storerooms and retail space again.
“This project exemplifies the significance of USDA funding to essential community facilities such as Lily PADS,” Kunesh said. “Because of the USDA Community Facility Guarantee, the owner’s dream to serve the community became a reality; and because of the owner’s perseverance, the resale boutique became successful.” So successful in fact that the bank was able to relinquish the guarantee earlier this year. “This is exactly the kind of project USDA Rural Development envisioned – community based and financed, playing a vital role in this rural community, and giving back in multiple ways!” Read more »
Earlier this month, volunteers from USDA Rural Development (RD) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) joined hands with representatives from the Six Nation Agricultural Society’s Indian Village to assist in preparations for the grounds use during the 2013 New York State Fair in Syracuse. The afternoon’s activities included painting, planting, raking and a tour of the grounds.
Cultural Transformation is a USDA initiative that strives to improve community relations, outreach opportunities, and encourage employees to achieve high standards. The initiative highlights how USDA is the People’s Department — and continues its commitment to improving customer service while creating a diverse, collaborative and highly effective workforce throughout the USDA’s many mission areas. Read more »
The front entrance of Anderson Public School in rural Gallatin County, Montana. USDA photo.
Back to school means a fun and exciting way to learn for students of Anderson Public School in rural Gallatin County, Montana. Using a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant from USDA Rural Development, Anderson Public School and nine other rural schools in Montana installed the necessary equipment to connect their students to share and expand learning opportunities.
Through the web-based portable videoconferencing equipment, the students in this community southwest of Bozeman, Montana have already been able to move beyond the walls of their classroom. The 4th grade class made a virtual visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and as the 8th grade students rode the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, their classmates in the 7th grade were able to join from back in Montana thanks to the equipment. Enterprising students are already coming up with new curriculum to share with their peers, including a student-led class on using a green screen to make your own videos. Read more »
Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, Thomas Fern, (grey suit) presents keys for new van to the Magoffin County Judge Executive and the Magoffin County Disabled American Veterans organization. USDA photo.
Parade formations, 21-gun salutes, solemn flag presentations are all an important part of the duties carried out by our nation’s veterans and their organizations as they help us remember the fallen and show support for our current members of America’s military forces. Each have engrained in their memory the wars or battles fought to keep our nation free and to ensure we live under a true and open democracy.
Recently, I presented members of the Disabled American Veterans in Magoffin County, Ky., a set of keys to a new transport van. Equipped with handicap accessible ramps, this van will ease the challenge of getting veterans to community events in their area. The van also will serve as a means of transportation for area veterans needing assistance with visits to doctor appointments and medical facilities. USDA Rural Development provided Magoffin County a grant for the purchase of this vehicle. Read more »
United States Senators Tom Carper (left) and Chris Coons (right) with children attending Primeros Pasos (First Steps). The children will move to a larger facility with funding assistance from USDA. USDA photo.
Last week, United States Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and USDA officials announced a federal grant award to Primeros Pasos, a non-profit organization dedicated to the establishment of a multi-cultural early child care education center for all children of families living and working in the Georgetown, Delaware area.
USDA recognizes that access to quality child care is a major component in helping the unemployed and underemployed make the transition to employment. This organization is improving the quality of life in rural America and is gifted with the two elements necessary for the success of this facility — sound management and community support. Read more »
Fresh, local Louisiana produce, like this will soon be available at the new farmers market in Harrisonburg, thanks to a Community Facilities Grant from USDA. Photo by Karen Lawson, USDA.
The Village of Harrisonburg, Louisiana, the 750-person seat of Catahoula Parish, will soon provide a centralized location for farmers to sell their fresh, healthy produce to its citizens and others in the surrounding area. The Village received funding through USDA’s Community Facility grant program in order to provide a location for a farmer’s market in their town.
This farmers market project will provide an essential public service to a persistently poverty-afflicted area with an unemployment rate of 54.9 percent and a median household income of under $22,000, which is below the poverty level. Catahoula Parish is a special emphasis parish as well as a 2008 presidentially declared disaster parish. Read more »