Nacogdoches service agencies under one roof

When East Texas Community Health Services moved its South University clinical operations next door it left a lot of space for administration. Really more than what director Robin Moore and the staff needed. That's when United Way, Community Rx Help and Red Cross were offered new homes.

(I wanted) "to have a place where people can go who may need a variety of services," explained Moore.

"Now, this is what I call the west wing," said Gary Ashcraft, United Way's director, as he walked through the entrance of the agency's new office space. Ashcraft's 'wing' provides the space and serviceable environment the agency was hunting.

"We've gotten very active in convening a lot of volunteers and leaders. There's a lot of people in and out of our offices everyday," said Ashcraft.

A short walk from the health clinic is all Community Rx Help clients have to receive assistance with  medications.

"And with the economy like it is and gas prices like it is, is an issue for them to get to town and to travel across town even, so that's another plus," said Tricia Hand, the agency's director.

And Red Cross just likes having a place to put their stuff.

"We're excited to have an office space here where we actually meet with clients," said director Glenna Harkness. "And especially to be with United Way. We are a United Way agency, so working hand and hand helps."

The agencies pay affordable rent. Moore offers a spacious board room to the non profits. Someday she wants a quality printer for the agencies to share. Moore also likes the idea of creating a central eligibility center, so clients don't have to fill out form after form when applying for assistance. Over time, more space may open up for more agencies.

Right now the shared space seems to be meeting everyone's needs. The only thing missing is a name. "Non-profit center, non-profit mall, whatever you want to call it. We haven't come up with a good name, so we're open to a good name," said Moore before dashing off to an honoree luncheon for service agencies.

Service agencies of all kinds were honored today by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. They're being called 'home town heroes'. "They're the kind of groups that make up a community," said Nacogdoches Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger, the guest speaker.

All the non profits had an opportunity to set up booths to show off the kind of work they do. There were about twenty five agencies in all at today's Fourth Friday luncheon.

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