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L to R: Liz Lynch, Christina Blume, Kelli Stanage, Jennifer Adamson Contact Center Serves Many Needs vBy Julie Eickhoff The Contact Center has been a great resource for numerous people in our community, serving various needs. I visited with Jennifer Adamson about her sixteen years with the program, the past 10 years serving as the Director. When I met with Adamson at the Contact Center, I was immediately greeted with a warm welcome from the staff. The greeting provided a calmness and comfort that would help anyone be at ease while they sought help. Adamson explained that the program began more than forty years ago in a church, where a team of people gathered together to help those in need. When it became apparent that the needs were growing and more space was needed, the initial founders and the Yankton county commissioners teamed up to provide a program with more options and a larger space. The Contact Center then began in the lower level of the county Government Center, a very comfortable and convenient location for them. Most known for the Food Pantry, there are other services that they can provide. The Contact Center is also a place where people can receive immediate emergency assistance. They can help quickly in situations where someone might need help in paying their utilities or water before it becomes disconnected or their rent before they are evicted. The short time frame to act in these situations often requires a quick turnaround. Adamson explained that each person’s needs are addressed on a caseby-case basis. They have good working relationships with other local businesses and agencies to help each person’s situation: Department 4vHERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 of Social Security, Rural Office of Community Services, United Way, landlords, utility companies, the water department and Lewis & Clark Behavioral Health are just a few. She smiled, “We have a great pool in Yankton to draw from.” They also team up with the Department of Labor, encouraging any clients who are without a job to contact the department. “The Department of Labor will do cartwheels all over the place to help you find a job. The things that they can do for you!” she stressed. The Contact Center offers the Protective Payee program, which currently assists nearly 100 people by distributing their Social Security checks to pay bills and expenses. They initially work with each individual and often the case manager to set up a budget. The Center receives the individual’s Security check, pays the necessary bills and gives the payee an “allowance” when they stop in the office each week. It’s rewarding for Adamson to see that some people are eventually able to pay their bills on their own and are released from the program. She gave me a tour of their storage area and their well-organized food pantry. As we stepped into their storage area, children’s backpacks line a table. She explained that they are working on the annual Backpack program, which provides backpacks and school supplies to children in grades K-8. As we crossed the hall to the food pantry, she listed off various items available, noting that they not only provide food, but toiletries, personal hygiene products, diapers, formula and blankets. They truly can help the whole family in need. They have a wide variety of food available, including canned goods such as tuna, soups, canned fruits and

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