House of Concern Names Interim Director

Rose Rathbone
Rose Rathbone

The Seneca County House of Concern has named Rose Rathbone as Interim Executive Director. Diane Draheim, who has served as Director of the organization since 2007, has been out on disability and is currently awaiting a heart transplant at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Draheim has been named Director Emeritus and will continue to offer her expertise to the organization.

Rathbone retired last December as Executive Director of the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Program. She has considerable experience with administration of that agency and has worked directly with both Foodlink, the major food source for the House of Concern, in addition to working collaboratively with the House of Concern on many mutual projects. She will be working part-time to help the agency through this transitional period. She has also been an active partner with United Way of Seneca County and has served on the local FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Board. She has also been active on the VITA (Volunteers Income Tax Assistance) committee and has partnered with many other civic organizations.

“Rose has the ability to see gaps and design programs and initiatives to fill those gaps due to her passionate desire to work with others,” says United Way Executive Director Karen Beals.

A search committee is being formed to recruit a new Executive Director.

At their June Annual meeting, the House of Concern Board also named two new Board members and said farewell to Board member Rev. Eleanor Collinsworth. Collinsworth, pastor of the Seneca Falls United Methodist Church served as the organization’s Treasurer. She will be leaving for a new church post in Bath, NY.

Larry Driscoll, a retired BOCES administrator has joined the Board and will serve on the Buildings and Grounds Committee. Seneca County Chamber of Commerce Membership Development manager Cassandra Harrington will serve on the Board’s Development Committee. Board Member Emily Quill has been named Board Treasurer to replace Collinsworth. Board President Stephen Beals, Vice President Gregg Sarra and Secretary Rev. Leah Ntuala were elected to serve another term in their respective posts.

The House of Concern is a partner agency of United Way of Seneca County. The office is located at 33 State Street in Seneca Falls and operates a food pantry and New Beginnings Thrift Store at 35 State St.. HOC also owns and operated the New Beginnings Boutique at 103 Fall St., Seneca Falls. Proceeds from all House of Concern retail stores go to fund the food pantry. In May, the HOC provided more than 29,000 meals to hungry people in Seneca County.


Notes from the Director

Diane Draheim
Diane Draheim, Executive Director

Our first big event of Spring was the Second Annual traveling little Black Dress Fashion show, March 28 and 29 at The Gould Hotel. The House of Concern garnered more than $12,000 during the two days and dozens of sponsors and volunteers helped make it a truly outstanding event. The committee is already working on next year’s extravaganza. All profits go towards running the food pantry. You can make a difference and have lots of fun all at the same time. 

Later in this year we will be having a Mystery Dinner theater. Doug’s Fish Fry will be bringing their truck out and some of the proceeds will go to HOC. There is a Dinner Dance being planned, and many other fun events are being bounced around. So make sure you check our website and read the newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.

The New Beginnings Boutique has lots of great new fashions and Lynne has been busy getting ready for Spring so make sure you visit us at 103Fall Street. Store Hours are Wednesday 10-5,
Thursday and Friday 11-6 and Saturday 11-4.

Our State Street Store is also thinking Spring and getting out our Easter and St. Patrick’s Day items so you will want to see what we have there. Great buys and very cool stuff, and of course you are supporting the food pantry with everything that you purchase. So that is a win for everyone!

All of these events and everything that we do at the stores are all in order to meet our mission of helping our neighbors who are in need. Still it would not be enough if we did not have the amazing community support that we have been blessed to receive over the years. During the recent Holiday Season I was once again so touched with the immense giving spirit that surrounds us. I thank you all for all you do~

Have a great Spring, I hope to see you all at The Traveling Little Black Dress fashion Show!


Notes from the Director

HOClogoREVHappy Summer to you all! Hopefully you are enjoying your summer. We have all been extra busy here at The House of Concern. It seems that each summer gets a little bit busier.

We opened the New Beginnings Boutique consignment shop on Fall Street in July. It is really a very nice shop and if you have not had a chance to check it, out make sure you do so. We are very proud of it. We are still accepting clothing either as a donation or you can sell them to us. Its a great way to recycle your wardrobe, make a little money and support a good cause. The proceeds go to keep our Food Pantry running 5 days a week, 6 hours a day.

It takes a lot to do so these days. Every month the number of clients that we serve gets larger and larger. For the month of July we served more than at any time ever. We have been steadily rising over the last several months but this July we had a very sharp increase. That is because children are home and families are having a difficult time keeping them fed and paying the bills. Lots of these families are used to their children being fed at school, often twice a day. Having them home strains an already strained budget.

We are part of the Summer Backpack Program again this year. We are serving about 75 children twice a week with food. We have a great group of volunteers who have made this possible. We could not have done it without them.

Summer is such a difficult time for most food pantries. Donations drop, volunteers go on vacation, but the needs continue. We have been blessed this year to be part of Foodlinks Retail Donation. Stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and BJ’s have been donating foods to us through Foodlink. I must say that without them we would not be able to meet the sort of needs that we have been experiencing. It simply would not be possible. So a huge Thank-You to all those stores and to Foodlink for making this possible.

We continue to hold the Mobile Pantries at our site. This has also been very successful. It takes a good group of hard working volunteers to pull it off but we have been fortunate enough to have those. You can read more about the Mobile Pantry in this newsletter.
Last, I leave you with this. I have been spending a long time on getting all our files entered into the computer.

What that has done is really brought home to me how many working families we have as clients. This is definitely the biggest increase we have seen. I doubt that you can name a business around here that does not have someone, often many someones, who can’t afford to feed their families even though they are working.

So when you think of what the face of a Food Pantry recipient might look like, look at your neighbor, or your co-worker, your mom, the waitress who serves your lunch, your child, yourself, because that is who we serve.
Thank you for your continued support ~