For almost 50 years, Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC) has been providing services that bring individuals and families in the neighborhood together.
With a wide scope of programming that extends from youth to seniors, CRC functions as an extended family of sorts, providing a physical and emotional connection to its neighbors. From its Choice Food Pantry, to counseling and access to health services, CRC helps meet the evolving needs of the neighborhood and puts individuals and families on a road to self-sustainability.
“We help community members form social networks and supports for one another,” said Bill Owens, Executive Director of CRC. “With COVID-19, that went entirely out the window in terms of being able to physically bring people together. What we do recognize from this experience is that it’s not just about the physical proximity. We have these connections and are able to support one another even when we’re not able to be together.”
CRC continued to be a critical resource for neighborhood families in need during the city-wide shutdown. Pictured: Yolanda Phares, CRC Family Services Associate Director. Photo courtesy of CRC.
With the largest percentage of people 60 years of age or older in Franklin County living in or around Clintonville, CRC has a robust Senior Supportive Services program that includes both social and health and wellness initiatives. Even the pandemic couldn’t halt a popular monthly get-together that has been in place for seniors since 1983.
“This monthly meal typically includes 50-60 seniors. We were able to arrange for everyone to get lunch on the scheduled date and then everyone ate lunch together, at the same time, but in their own homes,” Owens explained. “That is the strong bond with the people we are here to support.”
It was this bond that intrigued Owens, who has been with CRC almost 25 years.
Food, shelter, healthcare—these things are in greater jeopardy than ever before. Not since World War II has our society had to come together around a common threat, and it’s certainly encouraging to see that we are able to rise to that occasion. We’ll make sure that everything is okay, because we’re going to make things okay!
Bill Owens, Executive Director of CRC
“I was immediately drawn to CRC because of the really concrete, meaningful things we can do for people that make their lives better,” he said. “This crisis put those needs and goals we work for at an even higher premium.”
In partnership with Age Friendly Columbus, CRC’s Village in the Ville Program created a Friendly Phone Line to help older adults seeking companionship, conversation, and social connection. Staffed by volunteers and interns from The Ohio State University’s College of Social Work, the program provided 134 hours of phone line coverage during the first two weeks.
CRC’s Choice Pantry continues to be a valued resource to neighborhood individuals and families in need. With the spike in unemployment and more people requesting assistance to get by, Owens said the organization, and staff especially, have risen to the challenge.
“The funds that we received through the Emergency Response Fund enabled us to be certain we have money to spend on the needs we have now,” Owens said. “They gave us the confidence we needed to be able to go forward and provide our service in the best way we can.”