kids cures

Supplies under the auspices of Kids Cures await distribution at the former National Guard armory.

BY DAVID JAMES HEISS

Record Gazette

Shannon Smith must have breathed a huge sigh of relief after the Dec. 14 Banning city council meeting, which approved moving forward with having the city manager work on a license agreement for Kids Cures Foundation, which found itself homeless after the building it was housed in over in Beaumont was sold by its owner, forcing the nonprofit to move elsewhere.

Kids Cures, which started out as an organization providing support to families of children receiving medical care, branched out and in 2009 began distributing food to help alleviate hunger in the Pass area.

Kids Cures teamed up with the USDA’s Cure Hunger Now program, and receives scores of products to pass along that takes up truckloads of storage space.

At the Oct. 12 council meeting, the city approved a $30,000 allocation for architectural services to assess the now city-owned former National Guard armory site at 2041 Nicolet St., which the city persuaded the National Guard to end its 99-year lease with, that would have expired in July 2052.

The National Guard had been paying a token $1 lease per year since the lease agreement began July 28, 1953.

The city has had the armory under its purview since February 2020, and had considered it as a potential location for an emergency operations center.

Smith told the council at its Oct. 12 meeting during a public comment period on the matter that her organization could really benefit from utilizing some of that space to house nearly 80,000 pounds of food that is distributed through Cure Hunger Now.

The $1 lease that the National Guard had been paying has now been bestowed upon Kids Cures Foundation, which will also contribute $100 per month towards electricity costs, which recently averaged up to $200 a month.

It is part of a three-year initial license agreement that can be extended.

The city dedicated a large storage area in the northwest corner of the building, and an adjacent space approximately 22 feet by 40 feet on the main warehouse floor for use by Kids Cures, and the nonprofit will be responsible for installing fencing to cordon off their storage space.

The city felt there was value to supporting the organization that has been providing groceries to nearly 300 families every fourth Saturday of the month at the city’s community center; with that program threatened to be shut down due to a lack of space for its supplies, the city also has the advantage of showing good faith in its use of the building as it seeks grants for improvements to the armory.

In a statement, Smith expressed gratitude: “We are very grateful for the city council seeing our USDA Cure Hunger Now program as it continues to grow larger each year, to meet the needs of our community and alleviate hunger in the Pass communities.”

She extended appreciation to countless volunteers “that make this happen 365 days a year since 2009,” as well as their partner agency Feeding America, which helped Kids Cures acquire some needed equipment for the program.

She also points out that, aside from food distribution in the Pass area, Kids Cures also assisted the Idyllwild evacuees from wildfires in the past few years.

“We’re grateful that we are able to continue and make sure that all needs are met during difficult, unforeseen circumstances,” Smith said.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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