For 40 years, the Geneva Center of Concern has been providing services while promoting dignity, respect and self-empowerment. For people with no other place to turn, The Center provides a safety net, offering a listening ear, a helping hand, and restoring a sense of worth to those it serves. In a typical Center day, our Resource Coordinator speaks with individuals to identify their immediate needs, and then provides additional assistance in filling out forms, making referrals to appropriate agencies, and providing vouchers for travel and medications. Oftentimes, these individuals walk in off the streets, having exhausted all other resources. Homeless, unemployed, single parents, underemployed and the elderly, all are welcome at The Center.
In addition to the resource assistance, The Center operates a food pantry and store, both which are vital sources of support to the Geneva community. The Food Pantry is the primary source of emergency food for our community’s elderly and families in need. Serving approximately 10,000 people annually, the pantry offers emergency food to those who simply cannot make it through the month. The Center’s Thrift Store offers quality used clothing, furniture and other household items at very affordable prices. The Store also distributes clothing, bedding and housewares at no cost to families in emergency situations. In 2010, we gave additional emergency assistance to 403 client families in the form of clothing, household items, prescription and gas vouchers, and funding toward utility shut-off notices.
For many people, the store represents not only a place to browse, but a place to visit with neighbors and friends and enjoy a cup of coffee and a light snack. Our volunteers are always standing by with a helping hand and a friendly smile. Currently, our elves are gearing up for our annual holiday event. Every year, The Center provides and delivers meal baskets to eligible low-income families. For them, Operation Merry Christmas means a hearty holiday dinner and age-appropriate gifts for the families’ children. Last year, holiday baskets and gifts were provided to over 130 families; a total of 409 individuals. Our proudest fact is that our faithful volunteers donate more than 9,000 hours each year to make The Center and pantry work for the community. Each week, 50 volunteers work tirelessly to sort, display and sell the donated merchandise, as well as stock, pack and sometimes deliver the food to our area families in need. Some of our volunteers have been on location for the entire 40 years and are approaching the tender age of 90!
We are truly grateful for the generosity of countless individuals, churches, agencies and companies who contribute gifts, food, donations and volunteer hours throughout the years. For four decades, The Center of Concern/Food Pantry has been able to assist those in need because of these generous donations. When contributing to The Center, you can be assured that your donations are going directly to those in need and are making a difference in the Geneva community.