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Goods are constantly moving in and out Caritas’ warehouse on South 15th Street.

Sometimes a forklift is a critical piece of equipment that serves as a lifeline between the hungry and a local relief agency dedicated to providing food.

“When you need a forklift, nothing else will do,” said Buddy Edwards, executive director at Caritas of Waco, a local relief organization that handles almost 11 million pounds of donated items each year.

That in mind, Edwards was excited to announce Caritas has received a new Doosan-branded lift from Equipment Depot thanks to $22,000 in grants from the Waco Foundation and the Illinois-based Grainger Foundation, which provides funding to food banks, disaster relief efforts and educational programs.

“This is huge for us, a significant addition to our warehouse operations,” Edwards said.

Caritas received almost 4.2 million pounds of food through its pantry and served more than 91,000 people last year, according to its annual report.

Caritas also operates a “Gifts-in-Kind” program in tandem with the local Walmart Return Center. Last year, Caritas distributed 1.9 million pounds of merchandise from the return center to other nonprofits in the Waco area and beyond, Edwards said.

“Forklifts are used for the movement of these items,” he said.

Edwards said time and money spent repairing and maintaining the agency’s four forklifts, which were not new when Caritas got them, had become burdensome.

The lifts created “notable expenses” for Caritas, Edwards said. He got a $10,000 grant from Grainger in 2016, and the Waco Foundation agreed to fund the balance needed to replace the oldest unit, and tossed in more to repair brakes on a second lift.

All told, Caritas received about $22,000, Edwards said.

Caritas serves a seven-county region, and its website states 46,000 Central Texans do not know where their next meal is coming from.

It receives charitable donations, including through the Greg May Caritas Golf Classic, Caritas Feast of Sharing and H-E-B’s Food for Families. It also operates Hidden Treasures thrift shops at 3016 Bellmead Drive and 3912 Bosque Blvd., according to its website.

Caritas is a 501©(3) organization that also provides rent and utility assistance, as well as clothing and household items.

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