Family Resource Center Steps In Amid Covid-19

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The Family Resource Center at 1623 Commercial Street opened for the first time on August 1, 2019. It has been providing essentials for Warsaw children, zero to 18 years of age, in the form of clothing, hygiene products and gifts. This service is free of charge and requires no proof of eligibility. The good news is that the Center re-opened in a larger space on June 17, located at 1651 Commercial Street, (next to Coco Nails) and it has expanded services to all of Benton County.
“We will continue providing shoes, socks and underwear for children at the beginning of the school year, as well as Birthday Boxes with a gift, cake fixings and party decorations,” said JoAnne Ruble, Director of the Center. “We will also continue giving out clothing and hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. Some new services include a children’s library where a child can choose a free book to keep; kid-friendly emergency food to those families in need when the Benton County Food Pantry is closed; and regular monthly activities for children such crafting sessions. In the past we have had special events that included a Christmas Party with gifts of clothing and toys, and a Dr. Seuss Party in March.”
Ruble said that she had shortened hours during the stay-at-home order, where her shop was closed to the public, but she offered take out service to those who contacted her for help. Her new hours as of June 17 are 10 AM to 5 PM on Monday and Tuesday, and 10 AM to 2 PM on Wednesday. 
The Family Resource Center is volunteer operated, and is one of five such organizations under the parent company of FRC of Missouri. Ruble says that her funding and supplies come from herself and friends.
“I started this Center when my Dad left me some money,” said Ruble. “Now I go from month to month depending on donations. But, the Lord is providing. I have been helped by the Warsaw Leathernecks, and have a partnership with Cedar Grove Baptist Church where about 90 percent of its members donate to the Center. In fact, donations from that church enabled me to give some extra supplies to two families in need.”
Ruble said that her number of clients has been growing and she now serves about 40 families with one to six children. She said that a lot of needy families are weary of her services because they think there is some kind of catch, or they are too proud to ask for help. But, more and more local charitable and educational groups are aware of the Center and refer people to it as they see a need. The Warm House, Food Pantry, parents and teachers and others often send clients. 
“I have one client who is a grandmother raising six grandchildren,” said Ruble. “And have a great-grandmother raising two children. There are homeless kids who stay with friends or where ever they land. I know a lady who helps one of these kids when he comes to her house from time to time and she has him take a shower right away since he usually hasn’t bathed in several weeks.
Ruble has run the Center with little help except for her husband and one volunteer. For anyone who wishes to apply as a volunteer, she can be reached at the Center at 660-223-1867.