Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


March 10, 2010

COMMUNITIES: Safety-Net Team extends helping hand

The Mobile Safety-Net Team kicked off its first Community Resource Event in Lockport on Monday at St. John’s Outreach Center to help those in need during a tough economic time.

“The Community Resource Events will serve as a one-stop-shop for people who are struggling to feed their family, keep their heat on or save their homes,” team supervisor Jeff Pirrone said.

The team was also on hand Tuesday afternoon and will be back today at the outreach center, but Lockport is not the only place the program is headed.

“Our next stop is Niagara Falls. We’ll be there for about a month to research the area and set up an event,” AmeriCorps worker William Goldstein said.

Representatives from local and regional organizations were at hand helping people apply for services such as Food Stamps, WIC and HEAP.

Pirrone said they are lucky to be fully funded by the John R. Oishei Foundation — a private foundation set up by the Oishei family trust. He said the foundation “strives to help the community.”

“We cannot thank them enough for their help,” Pirrone said. “With their help, we help to provide services to residents.”

He said more than a year ago, a program was set up for members to research local communities and see how residents were responding to the economic recession. Pirrone said their research includes seeing what services the community can provide to its residents in need.

“(Organizations) provide support in areas that will help individuals and families overcome the many barriers standing in their way when trying to avoid or overcome poverty situations,” Pirrone said.

He said their main purpose is to act as a support system.

“The Mobile Safety-Net Team Initiative was created to reach all people in need, whether it be chronic poor or those facing these circumstances for the very first time,” Pirrone said. “These events could prove helpful to anyone. They need to know that help is available to them.”

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