by Kaitlin Jackson
Following a year of increased collaboration, Catholic Charities installed a sign for Ministry of Concern in the waiting area of its 25 Liberty Street office on Wednesday morning. The occasion formally marked the agencies’ partnership and to stand as a visible reminder to the community that Ministry of Concern services are available at that site.
Both Catholic Charities and the Ministry of Concern help individuals and families who are experiencing financial hardship or crisis through various services. And though the Ministry of Concern serves both Orleans and Genesee counties, the agency is based in Albion, which is not always accessible to residents in Genesee County. That’s where Catholic Charities steps in.
Kelly Grimaldi, Catholic Charities Tri-County district director, explained, “What we do is collaboratively assist folks in emergency financial need. Sometimes people call Ministry of Concern and they can help, but the individual or family can’t get to their office in Albion. We have intake forms for Ministry of Concern in our office. We give them to the client who then completes them and provides us with proof of the financial situation, such as a utility bill, and then we send everything to Ministry of Concern. Sometimes the bills are large, so we help with what we can and call Ministry of Concern to see if they can pick up the remainder of the bill.”
Nyla Gaylord, Ministry of Concern executive director, said the burgeoning partnership has been a creative way to serve more people in Genesee County, an area in which the agency cannot afford to maintain a full-time office and staff.
“Reductions in funding require even more creative collaboration and innovation. Innovation is not about chasing after dollars. It’s about taking existing services and doing them in different ways, in different places,” Gaylord said. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Catholic Charities and look forward to developing new approaches to help people in need.”
Going forward, Gaylord expressed that she would like to explore the possibility of collaborating with Catholic Charities in Orleans County, as well.
The Ministry of Concern, housed at 121 N. Main Street in Albion, provides people in need with financial assistance for utility bills and prescription co-pays, vision and dental assistance, personal care items, youth development activities, bedding, and home furniture.
In Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, Catholic Charities provides a range of services including basic assistance; counseling for individuals, couples and families; Domestic Violence program for men; Our Kids: Parent Education and Awareness Program; and outreach to homebound seniors through Friendly Phones in Orleans County and Friendly Phones and Home Visitation in Genesee County. In addition to Batavia, the agency has offices at 243 S. Main St., Albion; and 6470 State Rt. 20A, Bldg. 1, Perry.