By Bro. Milt Helmer
The Brothers of River Falls Lodge No. 109 met informally on Oct. 4th to hear guest speakers Ronna Ellis and Tammy Pitzen talk on a group known as Assistance & Resource Center Inc. (ARC.)
The service and assistance group, serving River Falls and Ellsworth, is all volunteer and specializes in providing a hand up — not a hand out — to those in need. The group does not require extensive paperwork. The client calls and speaks to the client service coordinator who asks basic questions. The client service coordinator verifies the information given, speaks with the provider/vendor and within 24-48 hours, the immediacy of the request is addressed, and a plan made for going forward.
The coordinator carefully listens to people and try to understand their situation, then proceeds to offer some solutions. ARC has an all volunteer staff of 20 and have been building strong relationships in both River Falls and Ellsworth for the last 14 years.
The Assistance & Resource Center partners with groups like the Salvation Army, United Way and Our Neighbors Place. These groups will refer people to them. Over 98% of the donations go directly to helping people in need and all donations are tax deductible. They assist those in need of help quickly –whether it is for fuel in the cool weather, rent, vehicle repair, work boots and uniforms and much, much more. Whatever the need, ARC helps with an efficient, effective process.
The group paid out $155,000 in 2021 and in 2022 are projected to pay out $180,000 to help local residents meet basic needs.
The Brothers of the Lodge were impressed with the community outreach of the ARC and the impact they have on residents in their community who are in need of immediate relief. Masons are proud partners with many community-based groups, such as ARCs, food pantries, shelters, and organizations that provide free meals to schoolchildren.