The plant will close its doors on February 1st, but Plainview's Salvation Army Captain Alfonso Martinez says Cargill employees have already started coming in for help.
The upcoming closure of Plainview's Cargill beef processing plant is already having negative effects on the community, including many non-profit organizations.
"Wednesday is our biggest day when we give out food to the community. We average about 40 families, but this past Wednesday we had about 65," Martinez said.
More than 2,000 Cargill employees will lose their jobs when the plant shuts down next week. Martinez says the number of families needing help will soon multiply.
"That's 2,000 families - most have never come to the Salvation Army for assistance - that are now probably going to come to us looking for help," he said. "These families have never asked for any help, and I've seen them… They have this look like what am I going to do - desperation. I told them don't despair and don't worry, nobody's looking down on you. This is why we're here, to make sure you keep what you have intact and that is your family."
Besides having more people coming in needing assistance, Martinez says they're about to face an even harder problem - how to help these people with budget cuts.
"About $60,000 more or less comes from Cargill, so I just took a hit, and I don't even know where I'm going to coming up with that money," Martinez said.
Each year Cargill gives about $160,000 total to non-profits and organizations around Plainview, including the Salvation Army. Cargill has promised to finish out its charitable contributions for the rest of the year, but starting in 2014 the Salvation Army and others will have to find some other way to make up the money.
"The last thing I want to do is cut back on the help we give. I will keep helping those families until we have nothing left," Martinez said.
He hopes more people in the community will step up to help keep the Salvation Army afloat.
If you would like to help you can make donations at their website by (clicking here). Or you can send checks to P.O. Box 172 Plainview, TX 79072.
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