Family Resource Center closing - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Family Resource Center closing

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- One Wisconsin Rapids non-profit organization that helps struggling families, fights to keep its doors open. The Family Resource Center in Wisconsin Rapids told Newsline 9 that even though funding for the center has been cut, it's not giving up on the people in the community.

Tabatha Gilpin has been unemployed for three years, and said it's a struggle trying to provide for her family of five.

She said the Family Resource Center allows her to bring home what her family needs at no cost. Gilpin said with some of the weight lifted, she's able to focus on paying for other expenses.

"We have more money to spend on bills instead of clothes, and shoes," Gilpin said.

But because of the slumping economy, many of the organizations that helped fund the program in the past, such as the North Central Community Action Program, and the United Way, are no longer able to. Now, officials said the center will be forced to close its doors on July 31st. That's difficult news for Jeanette Ostrum, who has helped the center grow for more than 30 years.

"When I first started we only had about 35 to 45 families coming in a month. Now we have 500 to 600 families at least once a month sometimes twice or three times a month," Ostrum said.

But the funding problem is not stopping her. She said the center will go on with a new name The Hope Store, getting help from the community, and local churches.

"We will be closing as we're known right now, as far as being the north central community resource center. We are re-inventing ourselves and we will be opening with a new name and a new group of people being our head group," Ostrum said.

She said it will be tough keeping the store going without a primary source of funding but her motivation is the need in the community.

"We're set apart from other things in the community because we not only have clothing and shoes, and house hold items, but we also give out beds and furniture and all those types of things," Ostrum said.

Leaders at the center said they're always accepting donations like food and clothing, but what they really need is money to keep this center going.

Online Reporter: Courtney Fasano

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