To provide safety and sustenance to East Aldine’s youngest and most vulnerable residents, the East Aldine Management District has approved a $40,000 grant to pay for child safety seats and infant formula.

Library event hosted by deputies

The money will go to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Benevolence Association for distribution of the items at the Sheriff’s Office storefront office at the East Aldine Town Center headquarters building, 2909 East Aldine Amphitheatre Dr.

Storefront office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Call 281-449-6600 for information.

Under the direction of Sgt. Terry Garza, deputies employed by the District have been instructing area residents on the legal requirements and proper installation of car safety seats for children. Deputies also have been distributing infant formula to needy families, since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supplies of the product.

(The District funds an extensive program for extra patrols in East Aldine to complement the Sheriff’s Office patrol force that covers the entire unincorporated areas of the county).

Now the District is stepping in to make sure that families who might be unable to afford formula and safety seats can receive them without charge.

“There are still times when it’s hard to find infant formula, and sometimes it can cost as much as $40,” said Garza. “We’ve been fortunate to work closely with Walmart to supply baby formula.”

Instructions on the proper use and installation of the safety seat are provided right outside the storefront office, under the shaded portico of the Town Center.

(Texas law requires that all children younger than eight years old, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, be secured in a child safety seat whenever they ride in a vehicle. Older children who have outgrown a booster seat must be buckled with a seat belt. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250).

While child safety seats are frequently found on sale at garage or yard sales, buying them is not recommended. Some seats may have been involved in vehicle crashes that render them unsafe, Garza said.

Garza and deputies recently hosted an event at the High Meadows Library to inform residents about the programs provided by the Sheriff’s Office Benevolence Program. They include free gun safety locks as well as the free etching of catalytic converters to deter thefts.

Another recent community event, at the Walmart at 9225 N. Sam Houston Parkway, attracted dozens of East Aldine area residents who had their vehicles’ catalytic converters painted and etched to deter thieves. Garza said that the program has “dramatically reduced” the thefts of catalytic converters in the area.

— by Anne Marie Kilday