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CRDC: The Delta’s Best Kept Secret

CRDC: The Delta’s Best Kept Secret


CRDC: The Delta’s Best Kept Secret

Helping those in need in impoverished region

If you ask Tim Wooldridge, Crowleys Ridge Development Council is the best kept secret in the Arkansas Delta.

Most people though, don't know they exist or what they do.

And up until he joined the agency as executive director a few months ago, neither did he.

'I'm going to admit that until I came on board I knew very little about what Crowleys Ridge Development Council did,' Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge, a former state representative and senator for 16 years, dropped by the Crittenden County Quorum Court to introduce himself and share the mission statement about what CRCD is all about.

Crowleys Ridge Development Council is a nonprofit state and federally funded community action agency created during the 1960s War on Poverty to assist cities and towns in alleviating poverty.

CRDC serves eight counties in the Delta including Crittenden County and offers transportation, housing projects, substance abuse programs, senior citizen services, food and energy assistance, and other programs.

'There are 16 of these in the state, of which Crowleys Ridge Development Council is yours,' Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge said each one has a different overarching mission depending on the needs of the communities they serve.

'The one in Texarkana is about transportation,' Wooldridge said. 'The one in Fort Smith is a housing one. The one in Little Rock is more about educational related kinds of things. Ours is kind of a hybrid.'

CRDC offers rides to low income or seniors who need transportation and also does housing projects in the different counties.

The agency also offers energy assistance and is one of only two in the state which offers substance abuse counseling and a prevention program in 45 high schools. CRDC also has food programs for day care centers.

'The differing community action councils have different emphasis in their areas based on a collaboration with the citizens in each area,' Wooldridge said.

Crittenden County is represented on the CRDC by County Judge Woody Wheeless, Justice Lisa O'Neal, and Pastor John Rech of the Evening Times. 'They are all very engaged in our work,' Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge said CRDC is open to assisting in a wide range of areas depending on the needs of each community.

'The infrastructure for whatever it is that we want to do to take care of those who are in an impoverished situation exists within Crowleys Ridge Development

Council,’ Wooldridge said. For example, Wooldridge

said he was recently in Jackson County and was told by the Quorum Court that Tuckerman was closing down its assisted living facility.

While there are many nursing homes in the Delta, there are few assisted living centers.

Wooldridge said CRDC now is looking into ways to help do more to alleviate that need.

'That is what community action is all about,' Wooldridge said. 'And that is just one example.'

Wooldridge told the justices about a phrase he keeps in his Bible which sums up what CRDC is all about.

'At the end of life the true test of a lady or gentleman is what we do for those that can be of no possible benefit to us in return,' Wooldridge said. 'As stakeholders of Crittenden County what we do for those that can do nothing for us in return is ultimately going to define who we are. That's why I love the work of Crowleys Ridge Development Center.'

By Mark Randall

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