More than 60 people attended the ribbon cutting and office blessing led by Abbot Barnabas Senecal, OSB, in celebration of our relocated Atchison Emergency Assistance Center (EAC). Catholic Charities’ CEO Ken Williams kicked off the event saying, “I’m in awe with the number of agency partners, city officials, business leaders, school administrators, students and parish representatives, joining us today. Thank you for helping us live out our mission to put love into action by helping our neighbors in need.” One of the biggest benefits of the new location is greater storage for food distribution. The food pantry is now in an area big enough for people to walk-thru, giving them a self-shopping experience. “We value the dignity of those we serve, so we’ve modeled our food pantries to be more like a grocery store where people choose the items they need,” explains Dustin Hardison, Director of Stabilization and Housing.
The new office also offers room to host nutrition and financial education classes, as well as small community gatherings such as local coffee clubs. Hardison would like to add a couple of computers for clients to work on resumes, job searches and on-line classes. “While we strive to meet immediate survival needs including providing food and assisting with housing and utility payments, our hope is to help people work toward and achieve long-term self-sufficiency,” says Hardison.
In addition, the larger space will accommodate more on-site volunteer opportunities from helping sort and stock the food pantry to assisting in the office. “We are fortunate that Atchison is such a generous community,” says Hardison. “There’s never a shortage of people offering to help.”