Food Fund Feud: El Pasoans Fighting Hunger responds to city after claim of non-compliance over COVID-19 funds

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger Food Bank CEO, Susan Goodell, responded to the city’s press conference this morning over the allegation related to a federal grant allocated to the non-profit.

The city claimed the non-profit group was in default because it failed to provide proper documentation for the funds. During the press conference, Goodell had a fork lift bring several pallets with dozens of boxes, containing thousands of documents to claim as evidence to clear their name.

Goodell added they’ve kept a copy of every document, as required in the contracts, they claim the only issue is that the city has not come to review them.

During the city’s press conference Thursday morning, officials said the digital form of these documents were not required; however, the food bank told KTSM 9 News that the city asked for them to be digitized in January, but they have not had the man power to fulfill that request.

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Goodell said that the disagreement is now affecting the community, as the city has now put the contract to build a community kitchen on hold.

City officials say they’ve been working for eight months with the food bank to fix the issue, but it remains out of compliance with government requirements after receiving 3.7 million dollars in coronavirus relief funds, due to the city’s sub-recipient program.

“I need to make sure that the public understands that federal non compliance regarding these types of funds puts our entire community and the resources that we receive from the federal government in jeopardy,” said El Paso Chief Resilience Officer, Nicole Ferrini.

The food bank said they have been very open with the city and have done everything to work with them, adding they invite the city to stop by to review documents and files at any time.

“I feel sucker punched, this is not the way to treat anyone, but especially this is no way to treat a charity that has worked so hard for this community for over a year and a half and well beyond that…”

El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger Food Bank CEO, Susan Goodell

The food bank said that the next move is to have a virtual meeting Friday at 8am with the city to discuss the next steps.

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