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story.lead_photo.caption In this February 2017 file photo, Jess Kurti stocks the shelves at the Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank. Kurti, from Orlando, Florida, was traveling across the United States to volunteer at all 200 regional food banks in the Feeding America Network. Photo by Evan Lewis / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — The American Electric Power Foundation will grant $32,000 in emergency funding to two area nonprofits impacted by COVID-19, including the Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank.

Harvest Texarkana will receive $25,000, and Titus County Cares, a nonprofit in Mount Pleasant, Texas, will get $7,000, according to a news release. The grant recipients were chosen from Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s service area.

"We were really thrilled," said Camille Parker, Harvest Texarkana's executive director.

Harvest Texarkana's grant will go toward replenishing depleted food stock. The amount of food Harvest Texarkana has given out in the weeks since the coronavirus outbreak normally would have lasted months, Parker said.

Harvest Texarkana is accepting donations of both food and money. Because of the food bank's bulk buying power, each dollar it spends pays for five-and-a-half meals, Parker said.

Volunteers are being limited to 10 per two-hour shift. Parker directed those who want to donate or volunteer to Harvest Texarkana's website,

Titus County Cares' grant will fund restocking pantry shelves to feed an increase in seniors, children and families seeking services, Director Caroline Rutledge said.

"We're really grateful," she said. "We're seeing a lot of hungry people, a lot of food insecurity."

Titus County Cares has moved to curbside delivery of pre-packed food boxes to comply with social distancing recommendations. Donors and volunteers can find out more at

"We are pleased to present these agencies with additional funding on behalf of the AEP Foundation as they provide vital services to our community during this extraordinary time of need.

"We want to help ensure that the programs serving our community's most vulnerable residents can continue and expand," said Jennifer Harland, SWEPCO's external affairs manager in Texarkana.

The AEP Foundation recently approved $1.5 million in emergency funds in response to COVID-19 to support basic human needs — such as food and shelter — across AEP's service area.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, the American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including SWEPCO.

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