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B’ville agency seeks to aid working poor

Celina Neugent, 9, receives assistance with her homework from Ellen Stevens of B’ville CARES during the newly created Kids Kount program held at the Baldwinsville Public Library.

Celina Neugent, 9, receives assistance with her homework from Ellen Stevens of B’ville CARES during the newly created Kids Kount program held at the Baldwinsville Public Library. Photo by Erin Wisneski.

— Those programs include Crisis intervention, advocacy and appropriate referral, which establishes resources to meet emergency needs (i.e. food pantry); B’ville Kids Kount, a year-round program designed for elementary age children who are in need of homework help, socialization and community involvement; and Healthy Steps Toward Economic Wellness (STEW), which includes a support group to help individuals become self-sufficient, a budgeting and credit repair component and a job search component.

In addition to the programs, a steering committee has been formed to help B’ville CARES operate efficiently. Janet Theirien, chairperson for the committee, said steering committee members are reaching out to individuals and businesses that can help. For example, B’ville CARES has established an arrangement with Brian’s Dry Cleaners so individuals who have scheduled an interview for employment can have their attire dry cleaned at the establishment for free. The initiative is also working with the Baldwinsville Public Library’s new business resource center to help people find jobs.

According to Sartwell, the working poor could range from families in transition (primary caretaker is laid off from a good-paying job and the family is faced with a high mortgage and no way to pay it) to the single mom with two kids making $10 per hour.

“We’re leaving this huge gap where people are making a choice between feeding their families and putting gas in their cars so they can go to work,” Sartwell said. “They are living paycheck to paycheck then if the car breaks down, they can’t fix it so they can’t go to work.”

B’ville CARES aims to get these people back on their feet and moving in the right direction at no cost.

B’ville Cares operates out of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Route 370 (Cold Springs Road) in Baldwinsville. The initiative is funded solely through the generosity of the community. With no paid employees or overhead, all donations go directly to helping those in need. If you are interested in volunteering for B’ville CARES, would like to collaborate with or make a donation to the organization, contact Sartwell or Stevens at 380-8316 or email bees-girl@peoplepc.com or ostevens@twcny.rr.com.

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