Moreau Community Center Has Programs For Senior Citizens And School Children
POSTED ONDECEMBER 13, 2018
By Jill Nagy
For more than 40 years, the Moreau Community Center has served the people of Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties. Located in the heart of South Glens Falls, in a former Methodist church, the center sees more than 500 people a month, ranging from pre-schoolers to seniors, come through its doors.
The center’s programs for youth include a pre-school and before and after school programs for children as well as summer camp and recreational activities. Seniors come in for exercise programs, meals, and just to hang out and socialize and sign up for field trips.
The seniors are the most active group during the day, according to Executive Director Donna Nichols.
A third aspect of the center’s program is a range of community services: a food pantry, referral services and a thrift shop, among them. A backpack program provides weekend meals for school children and the center also sponsors a summer meal program.
An annual budget of close to $1 million is funded in roughly equal parts, by the Town of Moreau, fees for activities, and a combination of loans and grants. Right now, they are looking for a grant to install an elevator and make all three floors of the building accessible. Right now, only the first floor is accessible, Nichols said. There also is not enough parking.
A staff of 35 is augmented by a corps of volunteers who contribute some 600 hours a month.
“We have a very generous community,” Nichols said. In addition, the center “has a very good partnership with the Glens Falls School District.”
A few programs, like the backpack food program, are available only to Glens Falls students. The center, which has no recreational facilities of its own, utilizes school facilities for some of its programs.
Holiday Caring, a seasonal program, provides holiday food, and clothing and gifts for children. Last year, the program provided 767 meals and provided clothing and gifts for 234 children, according to the center’s website. This year, the program was moved to the former Moreau town hall because it has outgrown the community center building, the director said.
In addition to bus trips, ranging from day-long outings to trips of several days to a week, the center has a 16-passenger bus on site. It is available to take members to the grocery store, medical appointments, and other places around town and is also available for individuals to reserve for their errands.
Nichols has been executive director of the center since 2010. Before that, she spent 25 years at Community Work and Independence, a program for adults with disabilities. She grew up in South Glens Falls and graduated from Glens Falls High School.
“I love the community and I love my job,” she said.
The center is located at 144 Main St. and is on the local bus lines.
More information about the Moreau Community Center and a schedule of its activities can be found at www.moreaucommunitycenter.org. The telephone number is 518 792-6007.
The Old Moreau Town Hall Building will be used by the Moreau Community Center to distribute food for Thanksgiving and food and gifts for Christmas.
The distribution has become so large that the center doesn’t have room for all the items.
“What we found in past years is we end up having to close down programs once this stuff starts arriving into the building,” said center Director of Development Kelly Obermayer. “The numbers just seem to be increasing.”
She’s not sure if there’s more poverty or if more people have realized there’s help. The center only serves Moreau and South Glens Falls residents, but last year the center gave Christmas gifts to 234 children.
The center manages the logistics — gathering applications for help, organizing donations and distributing it all. But almost all of the actual items are donated by the community, including churches and scouting troops.
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If you are interested in donating or adopting a child/family call or email Kelly
518-792-6007 ext. 16
On Thursday, May 17, 2018, Executive Director Donna Nichols received one of Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council’s National Community Action Awards at their annual breakfast awards in Saratoga Springs, New York. The award recognized Donna and the Moreau Community Center for their efforts in making a difference in reducing poverty in Saratoga County. During Donna’s tenure, the Center has expanded its services through one of her driving philosophies – that nothing of value can be attained without the spirit of partnerships. These partnerships include Moreau Community Center’s long-standing relationship with Saratoga County’s WIC program, helping provide access to services for pregnant women, infants and children who might otherwise face significant barriers to participation.
MOREAU — The price of running bingo games is going up for the Moreau Community Center, but it has finally gotten approval for new volunteers to work the fundraiser.
Per state law, the center must add each new volunteer to its license and get the amended license approved by the Town Board. But the board has to certify that the volunteers are of good moral character and have not been convicted of a crime.
After the board refused to sign the license, because board members didn’t know the volunteers’ character or criminal background, the community center agreed to make changes.
That check, which doesn’t look at federal crimes but does include sex offenders, will cost $25 per volunteer.
The community center will pay that fee.
Then, once the list of volunteers is submitted to the town, the names will also be checked by the South Glens Falls Village Police. That check only searches the village arrest database.
“It’s not going to show one of the nation’s 10 most wanted,” Nichols said. “But I hope we don’t have any of them in our midst, and if we do, they are behaving themselves at bingo.”
The Town Board accepted the solution and has signed the amended license.
The community center runs bingo games as a weekly fundraiser to pay off a $633,000 loan after the center unwisely paid $800,000 for architectural drawings and other pre-construction costs for an elaborate new community center. It turned out to be far too expensive to be built, and the center is still paying off the cost of those plans 13 years later. It has $178,000 left on the loan.
“We’re looking at a little more cost. But we don’t really add that many volunteers all at once,” she said. “It might cost us $100 more a year.”
It’s not the only annoying rule she must follow for the fundraiser.
The center has to renew its bingo license every six months and send quarterly reports to the state. The reports have to list the number of games, the number of tickets (bingo boards) sold, and how much money was made, among other details.
But it’s worth it. The center raises $20,000 a year from the bingo games and concessions sold during the events.
“It’s fantastic,” Nichols said.
The community loves the games. After news broke that the Town Board had not signed the license amendment last month, many residents approached Nichols with offers to help. They suggested writing letters to either the Town Board or to the state, which could perhaps be persuaded to loosen the rules.
Games are held nearly every Thursday, starting at 5:30 p.m., at St. Michael the Archangel Church, 80 Saratoga Ave, South Glens Falls. The cost for the first bingo ticket is $3, and the center offers specials for other tickets. There’s also a full concession stand.
“It’s a night out,” Nichols said.
The Backpack Program at the Moreau Community Center is part of a nationwide drive to help alleviate child hunger by discreetly providing hungry children with backpacks full of nutritious and easy to prepare food on Friday afternoons to sustain them throughout the weekend.
In 2017, our program dispensed over 4800 backpacks equaling 14,400 meals to students identified in our S.G.F. School District. This no doubt is a huge undertaking with funding exceeding $20,000 yearly.
In 2018, the South High Marathon Dance has chosen to fully fund this vital program; allowing us to continue making a dent in childhood hunger in our community. Partnerships like these are the backbone of a strong community. You too, can help by supporting the many events and fundraisers in honor of the S.H.M.D.
LET’S BREAK LAST YEAR’S RECORD! GO TEAM!
Click the link below to see the list of events: