Hurricane Harvey news shows us the devastation in pictures and personal stories. I saw yet another picture of a line of people that wrapped around the corner of the street. I assumed they were waiting for food, water, clothing, maybe housing. Imagine my shock when I learned they were in line to volunteer.
This article includes snippets from our first article about celebrating the Pine River-Backus Family Center's 20th anniversary. The family center's motto is "strengthening families & building a strong community." The Pine River-Backus Family Center provides numerous areas of programming. Our Pine River Area Food Shelf alone serves an average of 375 individuals each month.
Nancy and her boyfriend, John, heard via the grapevine about our wonderful home visiting program for moms-to-be (and dads). Prenatally, Alex visits with families to guide them in determining how to build what they want for their child, including personal values for their family. Parents are a child's first teacher. The family learns about what stage of development their baby is in along with knowing the resources that are available for them. Alex will stay with the family until the baby is 3 years old. A gift bag is available for anyone who is expecting.
Part of a community-building tool kit includes drawing in new businesses and young families. The Cass County Economic Development Committee and Pine River's economic development community's main goal is attracting more businesses with higher paying jobs. John Wetrosky at the Pine River Chamber says they are very optimistic about our future and states they have other opportunities "percolating" that would provide more jobs.
I was born into a neighborhood in Boston that was half Italian and half Irish (I'm Irish). My mom was the best Irish lady for cooking Italian. Her red sauce was phenomenal. Traditionally, all the families had family dinner after church on Sunday. No one was excused except those in the military or hospital. I loved the feeling of having the family all around the table to share our stories and the abundance of food. A spaghetti dinner was on the weekly menu at our house. Everyone was expected to have their feet under the table at 6 p.m. each night.
The mission of the Pine River-Backus Family Center (PRBFC) is "Strengthening Families and Building a Stronger Community". On the first Thursday and Friday of December, we are an active participant in the "Radiothon to End Child Abuse". This a 24 hour event sponsored by Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota and area County Child Protection Teams. For 24 hours the radio stations are gathered together in the Brainerd Mall where phones are manned and pledges taken to raise money to support area programming that works to end child abuse.
Pine River is a year round business community with old fashion values and pride in its ability to commit to helping our own brothers and sisters in need and, especially, our boys and girls. Respecting our small town values is a badge of honor for Pine River. The Pine River-Backus Family Center (PRBFC) is celebrating 20 years of providing services in our own hometown. Our mission is to work on 'Strengthening Families and Building a Strong Community'.
If I watch too much TV, I can become quite cynical about the world we live in. The majority of the news is about bad people, crooked politics, the greedy and the neglected. In this ocean of turmoil, how is throwing my little pebble going to make a difference? But if we all threw our pebbles in the right direction, we would have a stone wall to calm the waters in our bay.
Throughout our articles celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Pine River-Backus Family Center, I've told the story of the organization's birth as a small, concerned citizen group focused on teen violence. At that phase, most small focus groups evolve to people losing interest, which results in drying up of funding and the group disbanding. Instead, we're celebrating our growth to providing numerous programs to strengthen families and build a stronger community. And that isn't accidental or based on the luck of the Irish.
The Pine River Area Food Shelf (PRAFS) has been a part of our community for 34 years. It grew from a shelf underneath the stairs at First Lutheran Church to a storefront location within the Pine River-Backus Family Center on Barclay Avenue. Last month alone, the food shelf had 184 families visit with 17 of them being first-time visitors. With a struggling economy and the lack of gainful employment, the number of clients is growing, many of them seniors and children.