The Pawling Resource Center Celebrates 40 Years of Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Posted on Feb 9, 2016

In 2016, thanks to the community spirit of “Positively Pawling” as personified by Norman Vincent Peale, the Pawling Resource Center (PRC) commemorates 40 years of assisting those in need in the Pawling community. Today, the organization is stronger and more successful than ever, helping more individuals and families, and raising more funds to support its signature programs. These four decades of community service were made possible by the dedication, commitment and kindness of many volunteers, community board members and donors. The PRC is immensely grateful for the on-going support of Neighbors helping Neighbors.

Since 1976, the Pawling Resource Center, a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization, has provided free direct services that benefit hundreds of local residents each year, offering a helping hand and a caring place to turn in difficult times. The 501 C charitable organization is in many ways “the heart” of Pawling, as it offers a food bank, rides to medical appointments, loans of medical equipment and many other services provided by volunteers and a very small paid staff.

A History of Compassion and Kindness

Founded by Dr. Ralph Lankler and Mr. John Brown, the first PRC was located in the basement of the Town Hall, providing copying services for all of Pawling’s many churches. The founders shared the cost of rent, each personally donating twenty-five dollars each month through to the mid 1980s. Early supporters included the Rev. Gronbach and Rev. Gordon Powell. The primary mission grew from this simple means of community support and soon, the Pawling Resource Center became “… the instrument for the churches of the community to carry out social ministry aiding the people of the community who are in need.” Although the PRC is no longer church affiliated, the spirit of service, faith, and community remains the cornerstone of its purpose and the foundation of its work and most local churches still participate actively in the PRC programs. Over 40 years, many community members have served on the board of directors to volunteer their guidance and professional expertise. Some, like Charles and Fayne Daniels, have literally been the backbone of the organization. Many hundreds of local volunteers and staff members, board members and financial, food or services donors has built the PRC – too many to mention.

 More Services, More Families Helped

Presently located in the carriage house of the historic John Kane House, the PRC has become locally known for its food pantry that supplies nutritious choices for families and individuals in need. Grant funding for the food pantry is substantial, with allocations through the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the Wakefern Corporation, and United Way of Dutchess County, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Hannaford Supermarkets, as well as donations from individual community members. The PRC also makes special meals and gifts available for children and their families through their Adopt-A-Family program during the holiday season. In 2015, the Adopt- A- Family program grew to include 77 families, providing the warmth of the holiday season to all who registered for assistance. Also, with the Resource Center’s food pantry expansion, PRC ‘s caring staff and exceptionally committed volunteers were thrilled to provide over 4000 individuals with a place that could be counted on to provide nourishing meals within an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Transportation services have been made available to medical appointments throughout the year by 45-50 volunteer drivers, affording a vital service to those without access to private or public transport. This program, funded in part from Dutchess County, is vital to the wellbeing of many whom the Resource Center serves. More than 1600 community members utilized transportation services through the Resource Center for medical appointments in Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties, as well as nearby locations in Connecticut in 2015. Further transportation services to Hannaford’s and to access PRC’s food pantry were also made available and utilized by area residents.

Additionally, the Pawling Resource Center loaned more than 200 pieces of medical equipment last year, which granted additional mobility and improved the quality of life for many residents. Besides walkers, canes and wheelchairs, the center also provides hospital beds at no charge, subject to availability. This program, in particular, assists families who wish to care for their loved ones at home, allowing families to remain together for as long as possible.

Finally, the Pawling Resource Center offers photocopying services (still made available free of charge to non-profit organizations, churches and individuals) information and social services referrals to the community throughout the year, as well as caregiver respite services and Grief Counseling. Moreover, the Blood Pressure Clinic, Winter Coat Program, Hispanic Outreach Program, and Community Emergency Assistance Services are all part of the many special, ongoing programs available at PRC.

Thanks to All Neighbors Who Are Helping Neighbors

The organizational growth, which has resulted in dramatic improvements in social outreach and depth in PRC’s services, was made possible by more than 1800 volunteer hours contributed by community members who furnish information about and provide access to all of these services now available and thriving at the Pawling Resource Center. For those who have donated time, goods, services and funding, the Board of Directors and Staff of the PRC are immeasurably grateful, and look to this significant anniversary year as a time to, once again, say “Thank You” to the Pawling community for its continued and unwavering support of all the numerous efforts PRC has made on behalf of those in need.

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The Pawling Resource Center is located at 126 East Main Street in Pawling, in the carriage house at the John Kane House. Services are free and available to all who live, work, attend school or worship in Pawling who are in need of a helping hand, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or religious affiliation. Additional information, including hours of operation, may be found and donations may be made at: www.pawlingresourcecenter.org. Assistance is only a phone call away. Call 845-855-3459.