Davis Community Church has entered into a partnership with the Yolo Family Resource Center that will include a new center for families on the church’s downtown Davis campus.
The center — scheduled to open in January — will be the third family resource center to open in Davis in recent years. Centers were established at Montgomery Elementary School two years ago and at Harper Junior High School earlier this year.
Located throughout Yolo County, family resource centers provide a wide array of services to families, from after-school programs to parenting classes, as well as assistance in obtaining food, clothing, shelter, health care and other basic needs. The centers provide both case management and referrals to other service providers in the community.
And while the school-based centers serve children and families from those schools, the DCC location will serve the greater community, said Jennifer Begun, a church member and one of the organizers behind the partnership.
Begun said having a center on the DCC campus will provide plenty of opportunities for collaboration, beginning with this year’s Davis Community Gift Project, a toy drive run by church members for 17 years.
In fact, gift project organizers had planned to involve the new family center from the start, but a delay in getting the center up and running will limit its role this year. Work on the new center — located near Fifth and D streets — is still underway and is not expected to be finished until January.
Instead of community members dropping off gifts at the center as organizers had earlier announced, they should now be dropped off at the church’s office at 412 C St. But one thing Yolo FRC will provide is more extensive lists of Davis families in need who will benefit from the gift project.
“We think we’ll reach more of the community now that we’re collaborating with the center,” Begun said. “We’ll have access to more families in Davis.”
As in years past, community members will be asked to sign up to provide a new, unwrapped gift for a boy or girl of a specific age, and drop the gifts off at the church. But given the increased numbers of families participating this year, there will not be a “store” as there has been the past couple of years where parents were invited to pick out gifts for their children and wrap them themselves.
Begun said gift project organizer Elisa Stone estimates between 600 and 700 children will need gifts this year, making the store model too much of a challenge to pull off.
Instead, volunteers will choose the gifts for each family and package them together for distribution. Families from Montgomery will pick up their gifts at the Montgomery family resource center while all other families will come to DCC.
As in years past, the church will again host a Christmas morning breakfast for the whole community as part of the gift project.
To sign up to donate a gift, visit http://bit.ly/DavisGiftProject. Categories include everyone from newborns to teen boys and girls. Donations of diapers are also needed. The gifts should be delivered unwrapped to DCC’s office, 412 C St., by Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Meanwhile, work on the new family center continues and Begun said there will be an open house on Jan. 23.
As with the other family resource centers throughout Yolo County, programs and services will be free and open to everyone in the community. DCC will provide the space rent-free, Begun said, and in exchange, the family center will provide volunteer opportunities so Davis residents can help build and support programs at the center.
Begun said the church and center will collaborate on at least four events each year, including the gift project and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Family Resource Centers have been named the lead VITA provider for Yolo County, providing free tax assistance to hundreds of households eligible for tax refunds. Yolo FRC received a $25,500 VITA grant from the Internal Revenue Service for the program.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy