Description of Valley Interfaith Food & Clothing Center
While the operational mission of Valley Interfaith Food & Clothing Center is to assist our neighbors with emergency relief, our vision is to help our clients break their cycle of dependency , and restore their dignity and status as productive participants in our society. As such, we are working with other agencies to transform the Valley Caring Center into a facility which is perceived by clients as a "new start" rather than as a "last resort". Over the years, we have witnessed an ever increasing number of low income families move from the Inner City to our suburban neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many of the support agencies have failed to follow, and retain only downtown locations. Due to transportation and safety issues, many of our clients have indicated that they would rather "do without" than travel downtown for needed services. Thus, there is an urgent need to locate needed services where they will be utilized by clients. In concert with the Center's Redesign Project, we have commenced an effort to increase the availability of "on-site" services. Renewed Hope Outreach, Inc. has relocated to the Valley Caring Center, occupying our old space. This organization provides access to Career Development, Parenting Skills, and Finance and Budgeting training as well as offering GED and Computer Utilization classes. They also offer Young Men and Young Women programs. In addition, Daniel Rodriguez, Food Stamp Enrollment Broker with the Free-Store/Foodbank visits weekly (by appointment only) to assist clients with the complicated process of applying for food stamps. The Community Action Agency (CAA) is at the Center four days per week to assist families with their utility bills. Michelle with the Benefits Acquisition Results in Self-Sufficiency Project (BARiS) assists eligible clients in receiving Social Security Disability and/or SSI benefits every Thursday. Finally, Carol Gomez-Ostrander,Tax Specialist, assists clients with their tax preparations. On the basis of the above, we're well on our way of establishing a "One Stop Shop" for needed client services at the Valley Caring Center location. This is an exciting new chapter for us, which is being enthusiastically endorsed by both the VIFCC Board of Trustees and the Valley Caring Center Board of Directors. During 2007, we will launch a concerted effort to better understand the comprehensive needs of our clients, and on the basis of this data, recruit additional agencies to locate on or near the Center. Our eventual goal is to provide a complete menu of readily available services which will assist our clients in turning around their lives.