Family Resource Center offers safety net to at-risk individuals

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Family Resouce Center volunteers pack nutritious food in children's backpacks for families facing food insecurity. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

The Guttenberg Municipal Hospital and Clinic's Family Resource Center (FRC) is on a mission to improve the health and wellness of the communities they serve.

The resource center, located at 514 South River Park Drive in Guttenberg, offers a safety net to at-risk individuals who are experiencing hardships due to fluctuations in their financial, physical and mental well-being.  The Family Resource Center has recently completed its annual report and shared the statistical information with The Press. 

Kari Harbaugh, Family Resource Coordinator, expressed her gratitude to the community for all their financial and volunteer support throughout the years. She shared, "I never take for granted how blessed we are here." 

Financial struggles

Financial experts recommend that everyone have at least six-months worth of wages set aside in a savings account in the event of a health crisis or loss of employment. That is good advice but not realistic for most individuals.

The U.S. Financial Health Pulse Report found that 43 million Americans, or 17 percent, are struggling with most if not all aspects of their financial lives. Fifty-four percent are struggling with some aspect of their financial lives and 29 percent of people are spending, saving, borrowing and planning. Statistically 70 percent of Americans are having some type of financial problem. 

People helping people

Community awareness is one of the many advantages of living in a small rural community. People are less likely to "slip through the cracks" when they live in a small town. Close-knit neighborhoods, religious communities, school faculty and administration and family connections can aid one another when financial, physical or mental health challenges occur. 

Shunning another human being because of their financial circumstances, way of life or poor life choices closes the door on compassionate care and understanding. Shaming a child or singling them out because of family situations that are beyond their control is cruel. It is our duty to reach out and help those in need. 

Family Resource Center services 

The Family Resource Center provides many beneficial programs to area residents. The short list includes assistance with senior health insurance; fuel assistance; vocational rehabilitation; sexual abuse and assault advocacy; domestic abuse advocacy; behavioral health; substance abuse services; cancer support group; grief support group; GMHC food pantry and clothing and household pantry.

Transportation

The resource center's small, determined staff and limited volunteers try very hard to keep ahead of the influx of consistent ever-growing needs of area residents but they need your help.

Harbaugh noted, "Transportation is a huge issue for many people who are facing financial hardship." 

There are many elderly individuals in our community who need transportation to and from medical and therapy appointments or assistance with shopping. Living on a fixed or limited income can be a challenge for many members of our community. Increasing medical needs and unexpected and routine home maintenance issues can add to an already tight budget. 

Providing transportation for someone who has temporarily lost their license or is experiencing mechanical problems with their vehicle creates another opportunity for community members to help out. Harbaugh explained, "We have individuals in our community who have a strong desire to become employed or are currently employed, but have no way to get to work because they do not have a driver's license, their vehicle is in need of repair or they currently do not own a car."

FRC statistics 

The following statistics show the number of area residents that were referred, received food, and community volunteer hours. 

2018 2019 Totals

*Referrals               1276         2375

*Food               113           725 

*Volunteer Hours       1518           1351

 

These statistics clearly indicate a rise in community needs and a decline in volunteer man-hours. 

How can you help?

The Family Resource Center has many opportunities for area residents to become involved in assisting and lending a hand to its community members. If you would like to offer your time, talent, or financial resources, or if you or someone you know needs assistance contact Harbaugh at (563) 252-3215. 

The Family Resource Center is open Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m.- 12 noon, closed Saturday and Sunday.

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