Area churches aid in project

PARKERSBURG – The Mid-Ohio Valley Community Corrections Day Report Center, with the aid of two local churches, made low cost/no cost clothing and household items available to DRC clients this week as part of continuing outreach services.

“We have a lot of clients who don’t have appropriate clothing for interviews, jobs, some need coats. We want to make sure they have everything they need, but may not have access to. Most of them work, but it’s hard to pay your bills and have adequate clothing. Some are in construction and need decent boots. Two local churches have taken us under their wing and we appreciate what they have done,” said Katherine Boggs, adult drug court coordinator/probation officer, whose offices are at the DRC.

The clothing items were donated by the United Methodist Church in Mineral Wells and First United Methodist Church in Parkersburg. Dennie Huggins, DRC executive director, said they would evaluate the success of the project and possibly offer it again as needed. Leftover items from the sale Wednesday will be stored for use as needed, but Boggs said the DRC’s current facilities do not have storage space for additional items.

“We are trying to find donations of storage units, or someplace we could store things like furniture and bikes, which are really needed. People may have the items to donate, but we just don’t have anyplace to put them,” Boggs said.

“Our clients need everything from a bed, because they are sleeping on the floor, to food in their pantries. They are willing to work for it, but sometimes they need a little help. Many of them need coats because they walk; they can’t afford a vehicle,” Boggs said. “It’s hard, especially when you have kids, making ends meet and we just want to give them as much assistance as we can.”

The DRC offers an alternative sentencing program providing assessment, case management, substance abuse treatment, batterers intervention prevention programming, life skills training, counseling, and rehabilitation, along with supervised community service to clients assigned through the court system. Referrals to the program come through the courts, Department of Health and Human Services, law enforcement, Home Confinement Program, probation and parole officials and attorneys.

With offices housed at 916 Market St., the center is serving 154 clients in Wood County; 43 in Roane and 27 in Jackson counties in satellite facilities located in those counties.

The center has also recently received a $4,000 mini-grant from the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care to assist clients, their families and the community for outreach to access application for health care.

“We will help them directly to fill out the necessary applications, or assist them on the website in signing up for health coverage. Many of our clients who are eligible for services, don’t have Interact access, or don’t know what is available,” said Debbie Murphy, DRC counselor. “We want to make sure they have access to health care options offered under the Affordable Care Act and myself and another staff member attended training to be able to help them.”

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Highmark Foundation, the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund and The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation funded this grant program. Thirty West Virginia organizations received the grants.

The DRC has also recently expanded its programming options including adding classes for outpatient treatment, life skills, parenting and other programs as well as offering night classes to offer more options to clients.

The drug screening lab at the DRC is also looking at expansion.

Jana Singer-Dowler, medical laboratory technician, said in September she performed 7,500 drug tests.

“We are trying to get all the day report centers to use our lab. We have come up with a way to save them money and offer them the same services they are receiving from other drug labs,” she said. The lab does the drug screens for the local DRC and Wood County Home Confinement Program clients; private businesses, agencies, Family Court-ordered testing, the DHHR, as well as some private physicians. A lab technologist has been hired to help with the additional workload.

“This is a great program and it’s very beneficial to many people,” Huggins said.