By Greg Stapleton
You can’t walk into the Trinity Alliance offices and see a sign for the “Family and Neighborhood Resource Center.” In fact, you’ll never be able to walk into any Trinity building and ask to visit the Family and Neighborhood Resource Center. It’s not that kind of center.
“The Family and Neighborhood Resource Center is our most amorphous program,” Sara Adams, Trinity’s Health and Wellness Division Director, said. “It’s really our total philosophy of helping community members and bringing them services they need. It’s our one-stop-shop for helping the community to thrive.”
And that amorphous program takes on all different shapes and sizes, for whatever the community member who walks through the doors at Trinity needs.
For some, it’s the Food Pantry, providing food and hygiene products to help families with everyday essentials.
For others, it’s the VITA tax program, which allows community members who make less than $60,000 per year to have their taxes prepared and processed at no cost. Last year, the VITA tax program helped process nearly 450 tax returns, helping community members get more than $1M in refunds from the state and federal government.
“The services we provide can be vital to the community members who need the most support,” Adams said. “We know that each of the programs we provide speaks to the social determinants of health. These determinants mean that by supporting the family with food, shelter, tax preparation, baby showers or back packs at the start of school, we’re directly raising the wellbeing of the whole community and helping it to thrive.”
On the front-line of the community wellbeing revolution are Trinity’s community health workers. These workers meet regularly with community families and can point each family to the services they need the most.
Through partnerships with health insurance companies, doctors, nonprofit organizations and state and local governments, the community health workers can act as a social care resource navigator, facilitating access to needed preventive health services. Community health workers are integrated with the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science’s Public Health Pharmacy Team to promote wrap-around care supports.
“The community health workers are also vital to make our community members aware of the food pantry, parenting classes, community baby showers and any other programs that help them,” Adams said. “Each of those supports – each of those programs – takes away another barrier, helping our community to thrive.”
And, in this way, the Family and Neighborhood Resource Center truly is a center, even without a physical space to visit. It provides community members with a one-stop location for all their needs and removes barriers of entry that often make it difficult for community members to thrive.
“We believe strongly that if we want to go far, we must go together,” Adams said. “Only by working with all community members and other organizations in Albany, can we help each individual community member we work with to thrive.”
As Adams points out, Trinity’s success is only possible through the support and donations of its supporters. The Family and Neighborhood Resource Center is constantly looking for donations, both money and goods. For example, the Coat Boutique only exists thanks to donations of coats from MVP Health Care and private individuals. The Winter Wonderland Holiday Toy Market is only possible through a donation from AYCO (Goldman Sachs), Toys for Tots and community donations of toys.
“We need the help and support of every Capital Region resident to offer our various programs,” Adams said. “Without that support, we wouldn’t have anything to offer to our families and community members. Paying it forward is a strong part of what we do each day.”
If you’re in need of any of the services that the Family and Neighborhood Resource Center offer, please contact Sara Adams at [email protected]. If you would like to make a donation – of either money or goods – please contact Addy Waldie at [email protected].
Complete list of all programs offered by the Family and Neighborhood Resource Center
To learn how you can support these programs, please email [email protected].
VITA Tax Program: Looking for tax preparers
Household Goods Donation program: Looking for household items that you may find in your spring cleaning, especially furniture
Community Baby Showers: Baby supplies, especially diapers, toys and books
Back To School Backpack Program: Pencils, paper, other school supplies
Coat Boutique: Winter coats, especially larger men’s sizes
Winter Wonderland Holiday Toy Market: Unopened toys, especially those for teenagers
Food Pantries: Food and hygiene products
Albany Bike Rescue
Dancing with Our Elders
2 Hot 4 You: A youth dance group
Community Health Workers