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CoServ Charitable Foundation awards grant so First Refuge can buy a tractor for new farm

Last week, the CoServ Charitable Foundation awarded a $35,000 grant to First Refuge so the organization could buy a new L2501 Kubota tractor for the Community Strong Farm, a new community garden that will be planted this spring.

In just a few months, the 14-acre site on Milam Road in south Sanger will be bustling with fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, potatoes, squash, carrots and other staples. The homegrown food will supplement the food First Refuge already sends out to support food banks and homeless shelters throughout Denton County. First Refuge serves an estimated 500 families a week.

“We couldn’t do it without a tractor,” said Paul Juarez, Executive Director of First Refuge Ministries. “Anything that you’re going to do, you need a tractor to mow and till the ground.”

The CoServ Charitable Foundation is a longtime supporter of First Refuge’s efforts to fight food insecurity in Denton County and this grant for a tractor continues that tradition.

“Food insecurity has only increased in North Texas since the pandemic began and First Refuge has been on the front lines fighting it for two years,” said Jennifer Ebert, CCF & Outreach Coordinator. “Establishing this Community Strong Garden is a creative way to combat hunger with healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables that will help our neighbors in need.”

First Refuge is leasing the land for the garden from New Life Church to the east. Pastor Dr. Jim Mann said the church had no use for the land so he leased it to First Refuge for $1 a year for 10 years.

“We’re super excited about it and we’re really glad to be a part of it,” Jim said. “It’s a great idea because some of these small, rural towns are a food desert so people have to go to Denton to shop.”

The CoServ Charitable Foundation is an IRS-recognized 501(c)3 charity. All donations are tax-deductible, as allowed by law. CoServ is an electric and natural gas distribution company serving North Texas. Incorporated as Denton County Electric Cooperative in 1937, CoServ Electric is one of the largest electric cooperatives in the country serving more than 280,000 electric meters across Denton, Collin and four other North Texas counties. CoServ Gas was established in 1998 and serves more than 130,000 gas meters in Denton, Collin and Kaufman counties. CoServ’s mission is deliver excellent service our Members and Customers by providing safe and reliable energy solutions.

About First Refuge Ministries: First Refuge Ministries believes that every person has worth and value because they are created by God. We aim to honor God and bring Him glory by reaching out to our under-served neighbors with an open door, healing hands and generous hearts prepared to serve, love and encourage others no matter who they are. Our goal is to minister to the entire person, including physical, emotional and spiritual needs, by offering essential services to those in our community.


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