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A year old, Warrensburg Outreach Center helps more folks than ever

Then caseworker Caroline Sgorrano returned from a jaunt to a local bank, announcing with a smile that she and others had successfully helped a client qualify for Social Security Disability to which he was entitled.

Minutes later, a worker from a homeless shelter coalition arrived with instructional packets for household budgeting, to be distributed to the Outreach Center's clients - all while Sgorrano was conducting some quick research on a grant program.

"Some days you feel you are putting on a Band Aid when major surgery is needed," Sgorrano said, looking at the pending work and listening to the ringing phones. "However, this is really rewarding work."

Posluszny said the Outreach Center has served a tremendous number of people, but donations are needed to provide for the Outreach Center's mortgage and utilities so it can continue to serve families at risk. About 100 volunteers are making agency resources go as far as possible, he said.

"This is great, but it presents a huge financial challenge," he said. "We have a far larger workload with the economy as it's been, but we have the same staff to address the needs."

Posluszny said the rebound in the economy has been sluggish and hasn't yet lifted the fortunes of the working class in the North Country.

"We're seeing people who have never before asked for help on food and utilities, and they're horribly embarrassed," he said. "I've seen quite a number of hardworking middle-class and upper middle-class people who are now out of work. Also, I've seen people living on not enough money to survive, and they've been turned down for food stamps. We know of a woman in her 70s working at minimum wage."

To contact the Warrensburg Outreach Center call 623-2829, or to reach North Country Ministry's hub, call 251-4460 or send an email to: ncm32@frontiernet.net

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