By Joanna Bastian
The Pateros-Brewster Community Resource Center (CRCPB) is shortening the gap between people and resources in the lower Methow Valley and surrounding areas.
The CRCPB was created to address community needs identified during and after the Carlton Complex Fires in 2014. At the time, area schools were the primary community resource centers: feeding people and organizing help during the crisis.
“When the federal/state disaster aid left, nothing in the community was readily available for people who needed assistance,” said Gene Dowers, executive director. Community leaders came together and formed a plan to create CRCPB.
The board of directors is made up of medical professionals in the community: Grace Larsen, Jim Larsen and Mark Miller. The CRCPB is staffed with two part-time employees: Dowers and Cecilia Arellano, director. The mission statement — “Empowering individuals through access to local comprehensive, integrated services and support, by cultivating community re-investment and well-being” — keeps the board and staff focused on building an organization that will keep on growing.
Anyone can walk in and ask for assistance at the CRCPB offices located on the main strip in Pateros. The center connects people with resources for a healthy lifestyle education, disaster preparedness, and individual advocacy. CRCPB offers aid with housing, home maintenance, non-emergency medical transport, counseling, legal assistance and assistance in finding insurance coverage. The organization is working with Okanogan County Behavioral Health Services to bring on-site services to the center.
Recently, a community member called and asked for help fixing a leaky roof. The resident had all the supplies, but was physically unable to climb the ladder to fix the problem. CRCPB organized a group of volunteers to fix the roof over a weekend. In another instance, a young woman walked into the office and asked for a ride to Wenatchee. She had just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, but missed her bus home to Portland. The CRCPB network connected the young woman with a ride to Portland the next day. Dowers wants everyone to know, “Just come in and ask, I’ll listen, and work with you to find a solution.”
Current funding for CRCPB comes in the form of donations, grants and community events like the annual Salmon Bake and Cultural Celebration, and the most recent Pig Roast, and T-shirt sales. The T-shirts come in several colors and feature a sketch by acclaimed artist Smoker Marchand. The sketch is of Smoker’s sculpture of a fisherman on horseback featured in the new Methow Monument at the Pateros Memorial Park.
Going forward, CRCPB plans to offer resources on-site, but needs funding and a full-time staff to serve the community. Funds are needed to soundproof rooms to be used for confidential client sessions. With additional funding, CRCPB will conduct a housing assessment this spring, along with a Map Your Neighborhood and community health assessment. The Map Your Neighborhood project would identify occupied homes and specific needs of residents, such as mobility or medical, that require additional assistance during an emergency. The program is in cooperation with the fire department to identify issues and risk assessment.
During this giving season, please consider a donation to CRCPB. Right now, the Community Foundation of North Central Washington is offering to match donations to CRCPB during their Give NCW campaign. To donate, visit www.cfncw.org and click on “Give NCW.” Select the “Grant Catalog” tab, and scroll down to the Pateros Brewster Community Resource Center. Click on the Donate button.
To learn more, or contact the CRCPB, visit www.crcpb.org, call (509) 923-7460, or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PaterosBrewster.