By VERNON ROBISON
After already awarding nearly $12,000 in grants to Moapa Valley organizations this year, representatives from the Las Vegas PACT Coalition held a meeting last week to discuss how an additional $8,000 should be awarded. to complete their fiscal year by the end of September.
At a meeting held on Tuesday, June 21 at the Overton Community Center, leaders from various nonprofit community organizations gathered to advocate for their organizations to receive a portion of the remaining funding.
PACT; which stands for Prevention, Advocacy, Choice, Teamwork; is a coalition that works to address substance abuse in the region through a wide range of community support. The entity acts as a transfer agency for major state and federal grants, administering sub-grants to local agencies that provide direct prevention programs.
PACT Coalition Project Coordinator Elizabeth Moore began the meeting by listing the local grants that had already been awarded.
“This fiscal year we started with a local budget of $20,000 (for Moapa Valley),” Moore said. “Here are some details on what we have done so far with this allocation.”
Many of these grants included support for community events that directly addressed addictive behaviors or offered alternative positive activities for local youth.
These included funding for a Sober Grad Night party held last month; the recent TLC program “Fight the New Drug”; activities for ASPIRE, an organization supporting local families of disabled adults; the Airport Day event at Perkins Field last October and more.
“There is still $8,200 in funding to be spent by the end of September,” PACT Coalition Deputy Director Chelsi Cheatom told the meeting. “So we would like to discuss ideas for activities and events that you would like to get help with in the community.”
Mary Kaye Washburn of the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP) said the organization needed an enclosed trailer to help distribute food to the mobile pantry that takes place monthly in the parking lot of the Grant Bowler Elementary School. The Mobile Food Pantry regularly distributes food to around 100 needy families in the city.
Washburn explained that a member of the community lent MVRP the trailer they previously used for the pantry. But that trailer is no longer available, she said.
“So we desperately need a replacement for that,” Washburn said. “We use it to carry supplies for the pantry.”
To purchase a trailer sufficient for this purpose, the cost would be around $4,500, Washburn said.
Cheatom expressed support for this suggestion, but she reiterated that grants administered by PACT require funds to be used for substance use prevention. She asked how the group could adapt the request to this use.
Washburn explained that the pantry was a service program aimed at alleviating hunger and economic suffering in the community. She added that the trailer could also be made readily available to other groups hosting events, including the MV Community Resource Fair, Teen Leadership Corps group 4H and others.
TLC representative Wendy Mulcock said the youth group is planning a community event in August to raise money for the organization Operation Underground Railroad which works to end human trafficking. She asked for $1,000 to help provide food and other supplies for the event.
Chance Munford of the Moapa Valley Fire District applied for funds to help the district start its new Explorer program. This new program, which will be open to high school students, provides an early start for young people interested in becoming EMTs, paramedics or firefighters, Munford said.
The district is seeking help to fund the purchase of books, uniform t-shirts, training props, medical manikins and other supplies for the program, Munford added. He requested $1,500 to $2,000 for the program.
Nancy Postma with ASPIRE, also requested $1,500 to $2,000 to help fund job training and on-the-job experiences for local adults with disabilities.
Larry Griffiths, also of MVRP, said he plans to host the fourth annual Moapa Valley Resource Fair, which brings together agencies and nonprofits to showcase available services to community members.
Hoping to increase interest and attendance for the event, Griffiths plans to hold it alongside the MV Pomegranate Arts Festival this year, the first weekend in November. He requested between $600 and $800 to help revive the event.
Cheatom and Moore carefully noted each of these requests, observing that they were generally on budget, and expressed optimism that all requests could find funding.
“We still have decisions to make on our end as we finalize this budget for the year,” Moore said after the meeting. “But I was very impressed with all the ideas and hopefully we can fund all of them, if not most.”