Cazenovia As CazCares members and local volunteers gear up for the fourth annual “Open Your Heart” fundraiser on May 12, the organization is also preparing to celebrate its 30th birthday.
Started in 1982, the food pantry and community closet now operates out of its own location at 101 Nelson St., and helps an average of 160 families each month.
“Each family faces different challenges and visits CazCares for different reasons. What makes CazCares special is that we really listen to people’s concerns and treat people with respect,” said Client Services Director Gigi Redmond. “Whatever the circumstances, everyone who walks through the door is greeted by a wonderful team of caring volunteers.”
In the past thirty years the non-profit organization has moved out of the basement of the Atwell Mill and expanded its programming, which now includes a pre-school reading curriculum as well as adult tutoring programs. Initially launched by six local churches as an agency to offer emergency food and clothing to those in need, support came from area congregations in the form of both volunteer time and financial backing. CazCares continues to receive support from local churches in addition to businesses, individuals and through grant funding.
“It has been my experience since being involved that everyone wants the best for CazCares, which in turn aids our clients. There isn’t anyone involved that can’t relate to being in a family and the stresses that often come with that,” said Nancy Green, president of the CazCares Board of Directors. “All of our volunteers are galvanized by helping those who have fewer options in life.”
CazCares will be celebrating its past three decades of service in conjunction with the Open Your Heart fundraiser, from 6 to 9 p.m. May 12 in the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia. The event is free and open to the public. The community is invited to attend and donations will be accepted.