Start the year helping the community

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Reed: ‘Help families be self sufficient’

When people in Barry County need a helping hand, they can always find one at the Barry County Neighborhood Center and Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) office.

Gail Reed, Barry County Neighborhood Center supervisor, said in 2021, 250 children were served for Share Your Christmas, and 41 families, or 111 children, were served during the Back to School Fair.

“We received CARES Act funding, as well,” she said. “We have been using it for programs both new and existing.”

One thing the neighborhood Center accomplished in the last couple months of the year was the addition of a new food pantry located at the Neighborhood Center.

“We partnered with the Emmanuel Baptist Church to make that possible,” Reed said. “It gets filled daily, and it gets emptied daily, so it is regularly used.”

With CARES Act funds, the Neighborhood Center has been able to offer more direct resources to the community.

“We’ve never been able to do that on this level before,” Reed said. “We can help with rent, utilities, transportation and employment.

“Additionally, we created a program called Goal Getters, which provides incentives for people to reach their goals whatever they may be.”

As always, there are many programs and resources people have access to through the Neighborhood Center, including:

• Clothing store — people can come to the neighborhood Center by appointment to shop for clothing needs.

• Coat drive

• Diapers

• Life-skills and parenting classes

• Goods 360 — A partnership with Walmart which offers a miscellaneous of items to be shopped.

• Voice — A vocational, now virtual, program for children kindergarten through fifth grade that gives them an inside look into many different career pathways.

• Mobile Mercantile — Every six weeks, families can sign up to receive direct resources for them and their home.

“This coming year, we will continue to offer the typical stuff we do in order to help families be self sufficient,” Reed said. “At OACAC, we all want to try to make peoples lives better. People come to us in crisis and chaos and we try to alleviate that, sometime is is something little, sometimes it is bigger.”

For more information on donating people may contact the Barry County Neighborhood Center, OACAC, at 417-847-2140.

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