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U.S. Representative Jason Smith, R-8th, visited Parkland Hope Center in Park Hills on Saturday to donate a $500 check, which will help the non-profit give out 100 new yearly memberships to customers.

The check was donated in an effort to help support communities in the district in response to the recent government shutdown.

“Every time there’s a government shutdown, I give back some of my salary,” he said, explaining what prompted the donation.

The Parkland Hope Center is a private non-profit community assistance program that helps people buy groceries at a greatly discounted price. Memberships are $5.

“Last week, we had 74 new members, our best week yet,” said office manager Tracy Robbins.

“Today we’re giving out $500 to several different groups, which we hope will help the families,” said Congressman Smith.

The first 100 people who register after Saturday's visit will receive a free membership.

“It’s kind of like a Sam’s Club, with a $5 cash membership,” Robbins said. “You can come as many times as you want, and you can purchase food, household items, pharmacy-type items, some name brand and some non-name brand. But it’s all at a 30 to 50 percent discounted price.”

Workers of the Hope Center proceeded to give Smith a tour of the building so he could see the variety of products and the discounted prices at which they are offered.

Smith found Parkland Hope Center through his contacts in the area. “I rely upon my offices,” he said, to find opportunities to serve his district.

“It’s sometimes a little bit bad in Washington,” Smith said regarding the government shutdown. "We try to make it a little bit better for the public.”

When he left the stop in Park Hills he was going to take a tour of the district doing various things including speaking to Eagle Scouts, talking about future flooding concerns on the Mississippi, and visiting a museum for a fundraiser. "Then I'll go home on Sunday, go to church, and then on Monday I'll go back to DC."

Store hours at Parkland Hope Center are Tuesday 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store accepts cash, debit, credit and EBT.

For more information about volunteer opportunities with Parkland Hope Center call 573-327-9200. Follow the center on Facebook by searching @parklandhopecenter.

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Matthew Morey is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3617, or at mmorey@dailyjournalonline.com.

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