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Putting Rochester First: Charles Settlement House and Community Place maintain mission

Putting Rochester First

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester’s Charles Settlement House and the Community Place of Greater Rochester are doing their best to serve the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Benjamin, the CEO for Charles Settlement House and the Community Place, discussed the impact of the pandemic Monday during our Putting Rochester First interview on News 8 at Noon.

News 8 is teaming up with the United Way to spotlight the important work local non-profit organizations are doing during the pandemic.

“In both cases because Community Place and Charles Settlement House have family service departments that help provide basic needs for people – a food pantry, personal products, and things like that – we never shut down,” Benjamin said. “We stayed open throughout this as an essential organization and tried to meet the needs of people who have come to us – some of whom have been consumers of ours in the past and some who have never had to come for this sort of assistance, be it food, rent, or car repairs – a wide variety of the kinds of things that we’re able to do through our collaboration with the United Way. So that’s operated throughout. Most other programs could only operate on a remote basis and have staff working remotely but slowly we’re bringing some of those programs back too.”

Benjamin said the United Way has assisted both organizations with maintaining funding. “We have had some funding challenges but we were able to get into the federal PPE Program for both agencies which definitely helped us keep our employees working throughout this. It’s a little bit of a challenge going forward but I will say we’ve fared better probably than some organizations.”

The pandemic has created many unknowns as we move into the fall. “We are in the planning process right now to hopefully bring back our after-school programs,” noted Benjamin. “We’re surveying parents right now to find out how it fits into their plans because normally the children who are all elementary age would just be bused from school to our facilities and then parents pick them up in the early evening. We’ll try to operate the program as close to normal as we can, knowing that because of social distancing we’ll have fewer children in classrooms and we’ll have to limit the large group activities that would normally be part of the programs.”

For more information about the Community Place of Greater Rochester visit CommunityPlace.org.

For more information about Charles Settlement House visit CharlesSettlementHouse.org.

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