Photo Release -- SNAP Grant Helps Natchez Cancer Survivor

NATCHEZ, Miss., July 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Helen Gooden worked nearly 20 years as a chef/cook, but she had to retire about two years ago after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

Six months of chemotherapy and ongoing cancer treatments weakened her body and forced her to quit working, she said.

"I had been working 18 years and had to retire because I couldn't lift anything because of swelling in my arm," she said. Despite her health problems, Ms. Gooden had a growing list of home repairs that she could not afford to remedy.

Among the repairs were a deteriorating roof and a hazardous electrical issue. According to Ms. Gooden, the roof was leaking in multiple rooms, including her bedroom and the bathroom. The electrical panel hadn't been properly installed, according to an electrician who was called after her lights went out following a storm. He told her the situation was dangerous. In addition, outdoor electrical wires lacked a weatherhead, a weatherproof entry point for electrical wires going into the home that keeps water out. Such weatherheads are generally required by city building codes.

Ms. Gooden, 69, said she went to city hall to see if there were any programs that might assist her with the repairs, and she learned about the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) through its member institutions, in this case, Concordia Bank & Trust. The program provides grants to assist income-qualified, special needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications.

Ms. Gooden qualified for a $4,900 SNAP grant funded from FHLB Dallas and Concordia Bank & Trust.

The roof was replaced, the electrical panel was repaired, and a weatherhead was installed.

"I have peace of mind now that, when it rains, I don't have to worry about lights going out and something catching on fire," she said. "I was glad someone was able to help me."

Glynn Laird, senior vice president at Concordia Bank & Trust, said SNAP's focus on emergency repairs helps keep senior citizens, who often live alone, safe in their homes.

"I'm glad this program was able to give Ms. Gooden peace of mind," he said. "People shouldn't have to worry about rain infiltrating their homes or electrical hazards that could cause fires."

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said SNAP has been good for the city.

"SNAP instills pride for our residents who are able to use the funds to improve the condition of their homes and their neighborhoods," he said.

Since SNAP's inception in 2009, more than $7.3 million in grants have been awarded through FHLB Dallas member institutions to assist 1,464 families throughout FHLB Dallas' five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. To learn more about SNAP and other FHLB Dallas programs, visit

About Concordia Bank & Trust

Concordia Bank has many customers in Natchez and surrounding areas. Its origins date to 1903 as the Bank of Vidalia in Vidalia, La. Its approach to banking is simple: Provide banking products that its customers want with hometown customer service.

The bank's assets of $25,000 in its first year of business have grown to more than $530 million today.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $30.6 billion as of March 31, 2014, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

Helen Gooden

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