Community Action plans May events

From left are Julie Wasilewski, Batavia City Schools district social worker and Family Community Engagement coordinator; David Dodge, program assistant to emergency services for Community Action; Walt and Darlene Almeter, Community Action volunteers; Jacqueline Fields, member of Community Action’s board of directors and headliner for Journey to Resilience; Julia Rogers, coordinator of community schools for Batavia City School District; and Lisa Whittmeyer, emergency services case manager and coordinator for Community Action.

BATAVIA — Community Action of Orleans and Genesee are holding two events for the public in May.

The first is Spring Cleaning, where free clothing and other items will be given away from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, or while items last. It will take place at the Community Action of Orleans and Genesee building on Clinton Street Road.

The event will be done yard sale style, but everything will be free.

“We have a ton of clothing, household items. We have some stuffed animals. We have diapers. You name it, we have it,” said David Dodge, program assistant to emergency services for Community Action. “There will be a limited amount of food given away, so we really want everyone in need in the community to come. There is no RSVP or anything.”

Any agency which wants to join the event that offers service, needs referrals or has a new program — especially for low income residents — is welcome to join Community Action. All is asked they bring their own table or chair.

So far the YWCA, Batavia City School District, the Youth Bureau, Catholic Charities and Blue Cross Blue Shield will be at the Spring Cleaning event.

That will be followed 7 to 9 p.m. May 14 when Community Action Angels is presenting “Journey to Resilience,” which involves inspirational stories and songs from the voices of survival. There will be coffee, tea and dessert, and CDC safety guidelines will be followed closely.

The event will feature original poetry written and read by Jacqueline Fields, a motivational story and music by Elly Riber, and a foreword by Pat Standish. The event also features Michelle Figueroa and Julie Wasilewski.

Tickets are $10 and are available at Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, and proceeds will benefit the Children’s Emergency Fund at Community Action as well as the Student Engagement Center.

The event will be held in the Student Family and Community Engagement Center at Robert Morris School, 80 Union St. in Batavia, at the bus loop entrance across from Notre Dame High School. It is sponsored by Safe Harbour, Youth Bureau, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Fidelis Care and Pellegino Auto Sales. Jeanne’s Table donated the desserts.

Currently there is a maximum of 100 people which can be at the event, but this is subject to change in accordance to CDC guidelines.

Both events will be in partnership with the Batavia City School District.

Community Action of Orleans and Genesee was established in the 1960s and their mission is to provide services with dignity and respect that help people become self-sufficient. They have multiple different programs and services, though Lisa Wittmeyer, emergency services case manager and coordinator for Community Action, said Community Action’s numbers are a little bit since the pandemic happened due to being out of town and the bus loop doesn’t come to the building anymore. However, they are still open their regular hours.

Wittmeyer also said Community Action has a lot of FEMA funding for utilities at the moment, but because of the moratorium on shutoffs and evictions, it isn’t a priority for people in need.

“If they don’t get that bill with shut-off notice or disconnect notice, it’s not really a priority for them,” she said.

Catholic Charities and Salvation Army Batavia Corps have also received FEMA funding for basic emergency assistance, including utility bills, food and rent/housing costs for Genesee County residents.

“The ongoing pandemic has impacted all of us, including many who may not have needed assistance before,” said Kelly Grimaldi, tri-county district director for Catholic Charities, in a news release. “We are ready to help meet basic food needs, providing food vouchers to shop at a local grocery store to choose the items needed to supplement items available from food pantries. In addition, our staff is always available to provide hope for both individuals and families by connecting them with other programs and services they may need.”

“It’s very concerning that people are in the mindset that they can wait or do not have to pay their rent,” said Todd Rapp, coordinator of emergency disaster services for The Salvation Army, in a press release. “Eventually, evictions will happen and those in need should not wait to reach out to us for help. We have funds available to assist them now.”

If someone needs basic assistance, contact Catholic Charities (for food assistance) at (585) 343-0614, Community Action of Orleans & Genesee (for utility assistance) at (585) 343-7798, or Salvation Army (for rent/housing assistance) at (585) 343-6284.

For more information on the events call (585) 343-7798 or visit

Johnson Newspapers 7.1