Ministry of Concern will celebrate 50 years with banquet on Saturday

Photo by Tom Rivers: Nyla Gaylord, center, is executive director of the Geneses Orleans Ministry of Concern. She is pictured recently with a committee helping to plan the agency’s 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday at Hickory Ridge Golf Course. From left in back include: Sister Dolores O’Dowd, Judy Boyle, Bob Golden, Amy Monti, Mary Grace Demarse, Kelly Murray and Pat Morrissey.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2018 at 10:56 am

HOLLEY – An agency that initially started as a migrant ministry in 1968 and has expanded its mission over the years will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday with a banquet and celebration at Hickory Ridge Golf Course.

The Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern is a nonprofit organization that grew out of a grassroots effort of local churches who wanted to assist farmworkers and poor residents.

The Ministry of Concern serves about 2,000 people annually in Orleans County, helping with personal care items, prescription co-pays, emergency shelter and some utility bills.

The agency runs a used furniture and appliance program, collecting items and delivering them to people in need.

The Ministry of Concern also has a youth mentoring program, Just Friends E-3 Team, that matches youth mentors (coaches) to children in need of positive adult connections.

Nyla Gaylord serves as executive director of the agency. She said many of the agency’s clients are people who work hard, but they don’t make enough money to pay all of their bills, or they can’t afford an big unplanned expense, such as a car breakdown.

“There are so many people living paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “These are the working poor. They work so hard they just can’t make it.”

The Ministry can provide some financial assistance or advocate for residents for a reasonable payment plan, Gaylord said.

“We try to look beyond the crisis,” she said.

The celebration on Saturday begins at 5 p.m. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley will share a proclamation about the agency’s 50th anniversary. John LaFalce, a retired U.S. congressman, also will attend. He was a strong supporter of the agency when he was in Congress, Gaylord said.

There will be a presentation about the agency’s history and its plan for the future.

“We’re celebrating that we’re still in existence and on an upswing,” Gaylord said. “We’re on solid ground and moving forward.”

The Ministry of Concern is known as “the agency of last resort.” It often helps people avoid shut-off notices and obtain needed housing and health insurance.

Gaylord and Jacki Mowers-Sciarabba, a full-time client advocate at the Ministry of Concern, are well connected in the community, working with other non-profits and government agencies to assist people in crisis. The job can be stressful and takes a lot of problem-solving, Gaylord said.

“The leadership at the Ministry of Concern is inspiring,” said Bob Golden, a retired Probation director who is on the committee planning the 50th anniversary celebration. “They’re like saints.”

Gaylord has a quote posted in her office by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Gaylord said that quote sums up the impact of the Ministry of Concern and the guiding principles of the staff and supporters.

For more information on the banquet and the agency, click here.

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