Botetourt Resource Center needs helping hands

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BOTETOURT – The Botetourt Resource Center (BRC) needs your help again.

In what’s become an annual effort, the center– which assists dozens of senior citizens and struggling families– needs funds to remain open beyond November of this year.

Botetourt resource Center.web.Jo Ann Basham rampRight now, Director Robyn Dobyns said the center has enough money to remain open into the fall, but is again dependent on the community to keep operating.

“This month, the BRC is asking you to join a growing list of volunteers who have donated resources through time and money, keeping the Botetourt Resource Center in operation,” Dobyns said. “Please consider supporting the Botetourt Resource Center today by donating $12. That represents a donation of $1 a month to help keep the BRC open for the 12th year.

“Your donation helps us in our efforts to assist families, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged throughout the county. Keeping the lights on at the Botetourt Resource Center helps us to keep a helpful light shining in the lives of those who are struggling,” she said.

Since its opening, the BRC has operated under the auspices of a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit agency, so all donations written to the BRC are tax deductible.

The BRC has had a busy year. Since July a year ago, the BRC has done everything from facilitate nearly $38,000 of in-kind services to help needy individuals and families in the county to repair 20 homes of senior citizens in partnership with Rebuilding Together of Roanoke.

The list of accomplishments during the 12 months between July 2010 and June 2011 Dobyns would like to see continued include:

•  Launching the first non-profit and countywide crisis fund in Botetourt County called the Botetourt Resource Center Interfaith Crisis Fund under the non-profit status of Mill Creek Baptist Church and in partnership with 20+ churches. Since the fund began on December 21, 2010, $8,360+ has been raised and $8,157+ has been spent on 156 individuals in 58 households. It also coordinated funds for BAMA totaling $470.

• Providing the Senior Prescription Assistance Program through grant funds from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley and donations. The BRC spent  $2,768.50 to help 21 low-income seniors with ongoing prescription co-payments.

• Distributing free wood (60 loads) to 11 seniors and needy families through the winter in partnership with and by Mill Creek Baptist Church volunteers

• Providing weatherization on eight senior homes.

• Coordinating Christmas gift adoptions for 32 children and nine seniors worth over $3,700.

• Continuing monthly Senior Parties in Buchanan where 10 parties were held with more than 80 seniors (through a FFRV grant) and Senior Parties in Eagle Rock at the Eagle Rock Library that were started in June

• Making repairs to 10 senior homes with BRC staff and in partnership with Rebuilding Together of Roanoke. This was done with $1,874.55 in funds from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley Senior Belonging Grant. The BRC built four ramps, replaced a roof, repaired a roof, rebuilt a railing and inside wall at a home, repaired doors on two homes and repaired a bathroom floor.

• Providing $60 shoe vouchers each to 35 needy seniors in partnership with Super Shoe and funded by The Foundation for Roanoke Valley Belonging Initiative Grant totaling $2,100.

• Sponsoring a free flu clinic in partnership with the Botetourt Health Department.

• Sponsoring free mammograms in partnership with Project Access of the Roanoke Valley and UVA Hospital.

• Sponsoring a free Car Fit program for seniors to improve safety and comfort of driving in partnership with Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Carilion.

• Facilitating Basic Needs Assistance to seniors through home repair, bill assistance, home supplies, recreation, medical assistance, etc. with a $24,226.81 grant from FFRV Belonging Grant.

Also, during this 2010-2011 fiscal year, the BRC case managed more than 66 individuals and another 112 families in Botetourt County.

In addition, the BRC coordinates a countywide recycling network that provides appliances, clothes, furniture, medical equipment, etc. to families and seniors. The BRC also operates a Clothes Closet and Pantry, a Brain Fitness Program for seniors, recreational activities, helps with back-to-school supplies and has a medical equipment loan program.

“For 11 years, the Botetourt Resource Center has been responsible for raising the entire budget each year,” Dobyns said. “As for most non-profit organizations, this is a daunting task. All of the services are given at no cost to residents, and funds for programs are also raised by the center. At this time the center desperately needs financial help to remain open in its 12th year of successful operation.”

Founded in October of 2000, the Botetourt Resource Center opened its doors in the old Buchanan High School cafeteria building at 33 Bedford Street in Buchanan.

The Botetourt Resource Center was initiated through a beginning venture grant from the United Way Program through the Council of Community Services as a way to help the community connect to needed resources.

The BRC has served the community through partnerships with churches, various civic organizations and agencies (such as the League of Older Americans, Agency on Aging, Project Access, and Blue Ridge Independent Living Center, etc.)  The BRC provides case-managed assistance through information, advocacy, referral and programs.

Since its establishment, the BRC has been recognized for its community service efforts through articles in The Fincastle Herald, The Roanoke Times and the Virginia Business Magazine. Because of its success, the center has been awarded program grants by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, Presbytery of the Peaks, Wal-Mart Foundation and others.

Dobyns noted the BRC must raise all expenses for the total budget and programs through county, private and public donations, grants and fundraisers. The BRC is under the non-profit umbrella of the Council of Community Services and receives in-kind services from the council as well as from the Town of Buchanan.

“All donations are tax deductible and are greatly appreciated in continuing these valuable services,” Dobyns added.

Contributions can be sent to the Botetourt Resource Center, P.O. Box 153, Buchanan,  24066. For more information, call 254-1468.