By Millie Ratzloff

        What a year it has been! DN LCC has been in constant change!  It has experienced continual growth and adjustment to meet the needs of clients, and agencies that use the facility. Some services have been discontinued, due to the economy. New services have been added like VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).  The Exercise and Social Program has grown. Tutoring now replaces the slot for ESL classes, which is now TBA (To Be Arranged). We will continue to adjust and change to improve our services, while meeting the needs of our community.

The DN LCC Community Survey showed the activities and services people needed or wanted during 2010. We have tried to meet the needs listed.  Our community has provided the support of donations and supplies to enable growth to continue. Volunteers keep the doors open! People use the facility from every walk of life (homeless to wealthy), race, religion, culture and creed. What an incredible community!

DN LCC began as a public non-profit charity in November of 2009.  Soon, we had a food and clothing distribution. Today, we have a fluid transition of approximately twenty-eight public non-profit agencies working in collaboration to provide food; organize clothing; serve the disabled; work with youth; and tutor clients. There are twenty-one center run programs: (Seasonal and Monthly  Clothing Distributions; Arts & Crafts, Sewing, and Quilting; Exercise and Socialization; KidzKlub (dinner, character training, sport and/or Arts & Crafts); Merry Christmas Program to provide Christmas and basic needs; Community Garden; Lighthouse Achievement; etc.

Everyone is welcome and treated with respect in this facility!   We continue to focus of assisting working poor (especially single parents), struggling families, seniors, disabled, students, and infants/children. The needs are increasing monthly…with hundreds coming for Seasonal Clothing Distributions, Merry Christmas Program, and other programs.

We are at a financial crossroads because the center has grown. It has developed far beyond our expectations in a few short years!  We are researching and applying for grants, since the center is being used for many more hours per day, and uses more disposables and supplies.  In addition, we need additional full-time and part-time staff to complete all the necessary supervision to such a busy facility.

The economy has brought families and individuals, who under other circumstances would not need additional support. Working clients, small business owners, and students are struggling, and can’t get out of town to purchase clothing. Some come monthly to exchange their clothes and trade for “new” garments and prepare for seasonal changes. Fortunately, donations of clothes and small household supplies continue to provide for the growing demands. (We have recently found it necessary to request ten dollars (to cover expenses) for a large bag of new or gently used clothes. This allows us to continue this program.)

Our food bank is progressively reaching empty! People are in tight financial situations. When their refrigerator quits, and suddenly the food they thought was available goes bad (in spite of good planning and wise budgeting), assistance is necessary. Or, an unanticipated problem occurs when a grandparent suddenly has three children left at their doorstep without clothes or additional food. We try to help through the crisis, until other arrangements are available.

The 2013 Merry Christmas Program has provided for approximately 500 individuals. Applications have drastically increased in recent years. Donations of basic household items (towels, linens, soap, etc.); non-battery and non-electric toys; new or gently used clothes; gift cards; or anything a family might need for Christmas are appreciated.

Can you or an organization which you are involved, provide a need (finances; a food drive; collect items for Christmas; provide services; help set-up or take down; etc.? Would you be willing to serve on a board, or in an advisory position? Whatever affects one segment of our community will affect everyone in the community, and our future! We desire seeing prosperity and success for all!

We have so many incredible volunteers, who have given their time and donate to meet needs. You are amazing!  Maxine McKinney is from Work Experience. Ellie Latte has been working tirelessly as Chief Elf for the Merry Christmas Program for several years. Volunteers have baked and made meals for the DN LCC Community Potluck –Barbara, Sandy, Brent, Judy, Wanda, Angel….  KidzKlub staffing and program has been from tireless individuals who love children! Businesses and/or agencies have donated. Starbucks recently donated the chairs and tables for the library. What an asset for tutoring or meeting with individuals! Another individual donated padded chairs, which are so much more comfortable than the metal versions. Thank-you seems like such a empty statement compared to what it means to the people receiving your assistance! ! !

It is an exciting time! Fiduciary ($$$$) support is vital!  Volunteers are always needed! Come be a part of this incredible experience!

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