Starting the second week of October, Tioga County Rural Ministry (TCRM) will begin to offer emergency financial assistance services to low-income individuals and families residing in Northern Tioga County. Paul Kunik, who currently serves as pastor of the Berkshire First Congregational Church, has been hired by TCRM as its Northern Tioga Outreach Worker.
Financial assistance services will be exclusively dedicated to addressing one-time emergency assistance needs for individuals or families in crisis. Examples of such needs include assistance to cover utility costs, prescriptions, car repairs or rent.
Northern Tioga Outreach Worker will deliver services out of three satellite offices at the Newark Valley Municipal Building on Mondays from 9:00AM – 2:00PM and Tuesdays from 9:00AM – 1:00PM, the Hubbard Resource Center in Richford from 9:00AM – 2:00PM on Wednesdays, and in Berkshire (location to be determined) on Mondays from 3:30PM -7:30PM and Thursdays from 2:00PM – 4:00PM.
Sr. Mary O’Brien, TCRM Executive Director, said “It only takes one hospital visit or unexpected car repair to suddenly create havoc in an individual’s or family’s ability to pay bills in a timely fashion. We want to be able to help in such times of need.”
TCRM’s expansion of financial assistance services into Northern Tioga is the direct result of a bequest from the trust of Eugene H. “Bucky” Benson, who passed away in 2017. The bequest was given in memory of Bucky’s wife, Julie Hill Benson who predeceased him. Bucky was a lifetime member of the VFW, Elks and Moose and Past Governor of the Owego Lodge #1595. He worked for IBM for thirty years then retired to Vero Beach, Florida.
Founded in 1978, and headquartered in Owego, TCRM offers a variety of social services to low-income individuals and their families in Tioga County. Services include operating a food pantry, providing financial assistance to individuals in the midst of a crisis, presenting free nutrition education workshops, building ramps for low-income families with medical needs, as well as offering a number of tailored programs that address the unmet needs of the poor, sick, and elderly in our community. In 2018, 178 unique families across the County received financial assistance from TCRM.