Pocahontas Family Resource Network Appreciated in the Community
Recently we presented a news story featuring an interview with Laura Young, the Director of the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network, or FRN. In that interview, Young talked about the FRN’s efforts to obtain a small portion of the one-point-six-million-dollar Federal American Rescue Plan money provided to the county by the West Virginia state Government. That money is designated to be used to cover community needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic to help make-up for lost revenue related to the pandemic, and for necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
Young explained that in March of 2020, a fee-for-service agreement the FRN had with the DHHR’s Department of Rehabilitation was shut down for almost a year by the state because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. That shutdown cost the FRN about $200.000 in lost revenue that the FRN depended on to help pay for the services they provide the community such as the Harvest House Food Bank and assistance paying utility bills. Young said this loss of revenue happened at the worst possible time when jobs in the community were lost because of the COVID lock-downs, causing an increase in the number of people in the community who depended on much more support from the FRN to meet their food and utility bill needs.
To explain just how important the work the FRN does for the residents of the county, we did the following short interviews with some prominent and not-so-prominent members of the community, asking them what they believe the FRN means to the community:
“My name is Jeremy Hall, I am from Hillsboro, I am the Day Report Officer and Case Manager,” said Hall. “I feel that the Family Resource Network does a valuable service that isn’t often mentioned. Being from the Day Report system, we deal with people who are going through the Criminal Justice System. And the Family Resource Network helps with their family. They help provide services like gifts for Christmas, food pantries and things of that nature, because the families should not be punished because of the things the parents did.”
“I’m Jillian Emery, I’m from originally Wilmington, Delaware, but I am here in Marlinton,” said Emery. “To me, the Family Resource Network, it’s far more than just a baby pantry, or even a place to go and be safe, it’s a place where I can ask questions without feeling judged, and somewhere I know that even if my need isn’t met here, I can get sent in a direction where I can get help. So, there’s always an extended hand, a friendly face and help that is offered. That means more, especially to me, not being from here. It’s support that can feel lacking when you don’t know many people around here.”
“Rita Griffith, Pocahontas County Day Report Director. The Pocahontas County Family Resource Network,” said Griffith. “Not only does it help families in the community, but it also helps with helping us provide resources to the community we serve with our Day Report Supervision (and) with Bond Supervision. We try to meet not just the needs of the legal community, but also how to keep people from going back to drugs, or going back to the lifestyle they had before. And one of those things is to try and meet those basic needs. I’ve been amazed at how many people just don’t have enough food and don’t know where to get that, or how to sign up for things. And so we use the Family Resource Network to connect them with other resources to meet those basic needs when we can’t find them. We appreciate our partnership with them, and they have always been there to help us to do awareness activities. They’ve been very helpful in helping us connect them with the resources that are needed to be successful in their recovery efforts to stay out of jail.”
“Tina Bennet of Marlinton. The FRN has helped me tremendously the last two years,” said Bennett. “I adopted my grandchildren and was unemployed. They have gone above and beyond to help me. I help volunteer whenever I can with the food pantry, they serve sometimes three hundred people in a day’s time. They help people with their bills, they help people with food. They have just been a blessing to me and to the community.”
“My name is Vanessa Mothes, and two years ago I was introduced to some of the services that Family Resource Network provides to our community” said Mothes. “My personal experience is more the community baby showers, and the support they provide to new and expecting mothers. I think it is invaluable what they offer to that population of people. Having children is very expensive, and a lot of times you don’t know what you need and don’t need (and) you don’t have a support system. So, I believe this entity provides really good resources for new and expecting mothers. And, I think that is super important to our community as a whole.”
We hope you learned a little more just how much of an asset to our community the FRN is.