A community resource day scheduled for February 7 at the St. James Senior Center will provide residents with a one-stop location to learn about services aimed at helping them. Fourteen resource partners will be in attendance to explain what services they offer to assist those struggling with basic needs.
The event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. and will feature representatives from the Phelps County Public Housing Agency, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), Your Community Health Center, Missouri Ozarks Community Action (MOCA), University of Missouri Extension-Family Nutrition Education Programming, city of St. James, St. James Ambulance District, St. James Police Department, Phelps Health-Senior Eagles Program Diabetes Education, Missouri Job Center, Aging Best (Central Missouri Agency on Aging), St. James Caring Center, and St. James Senior Center.
“What we want to do is become the hub where people who need assistance, they don’t have to go to Rolla to MOCA, they don’t have to go to MRPC to talk to HUD, they don’t have to go to Rolla to talk to job services, they don’t have to go to Rolla to talk to the Silver Eagles or the things that Phelps County offers,” Caring and Senior Center Director Nancy Montgomery explained. “We want to become the hub where you can say these are the services I need. These are the issues I’m facing and we can go ok. Here’s this brochure or here’s the phone number or here’s all the data and this is where you need to go.”
Montgomery said there are many who come to the Caring or Senior centers who need assistance each month with basic financial or medical needs and don’t know where to get assistance, or who are looking for a job and need help creating a resume, or other need.
“They don’t have the money to travel to begin with so they can’t go to all these different places. Such as, MOCA provides winterization for homes. So, okay, maybe they need assistance this month with their energy bill, maybe they need winterization, maybe they need transportation to a physician’s appointment, maybe they need a job or job training,” she explained. “So, we want be become a hub for all those things.
“That’s what this resource day is. I’ve gathered all these people, all these agencies, all these resources, where people can come in and have a conversation, pick up their brochures, make an appointment,” she said.
These organizations will be available to meet with those participating to assess what services they need and to help them find the best way to address those needs. Montgomery would like to expand the services beyond just the one resource day, possibly setting up times throughout the month where a representative from these organizations could come to St. James and be available for people to come meet with them.
“Maybe there are 20 people that say I need to know how to interview; I need a resume written; I need to practice this or that. (So), they could set up a day where they say we’ll be in St. James every third Thursday of the month or something and they come in and do all these things,” she said.
Residents from St. James and throughout Phelps County will be able to find these resources in one location, which Montgomery said is the goal of this initiative—to make one place the center for where people can get assistance with whatever needs they might have.
Montgomery explained there are people who come to the Caring Center to get financial assistance to, for example, pay for their energy bill. The Caring Center can help them pay the bill, but the person still must secure a ride to wherever the payment needs to be made and some struggle to do so.
“We want to be the connection where all these community partners, these agencies can come together and they (the agencies) are very excited,” she said.
This idea will help eliminate the burden of traveling to multiple offices to get these resources and Montgomery said the idea is to hold a resource day at least once every six months as well as having agencies coming periodically throughout the month to be available for those who could benefit from their services.
“This is the first one. We’ll see how this goes and if it well and we need to have it be four hours instead of just two, we can expand it. We have the perfect facility to do that. There is plenty of parking in our new parking lot. The building is great. Our maximum capacity is like 125 people. We have plenty of space,” she said.
The St. James Senior Center is located at 110 West James Boulevard. Anyone needing assistance or wanting to speak with a representative from one of these agencies, or to learn about what services are offered to St. James and surrounding communities, are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact the St. James Caring Center at 573-265-2047.