Family Outreach in Clear Lake forced to close due to lack of funding

February 1, 2013 7:53:21 AM PST
A vital resource for families in need in the Clear Lake area is now closed for good.

Family Outreach has helped thousands of parents and children each year. Up until 2003, it was state funded but since then, donations and fundraisers have covered their $85,000 yearly budget. Now, the money has dried up.

Three months ago Angela Bergeron, a single mother of three, needed help.

"I couldn't balance it all and handle it all on my own," Bergeron said.

She turned to Family Outreach Clear Lake/Bay Area, and on their first home visit, they made a difference.

"It was the day that my rent was due, and they just wrote me a check. And I just, I just started crying," Bergeron said.

Since then, the non-profit has not only helped Bergeron support her family here and there financially, but has also helped her focus on getting her associate degree to make a better life.

"I've been very grateful, very, very grateful," Bergeron said. "You can't imagine," Bergeron said.

On Thursday, all of that has stopped.

"We are going to have to close," said Pam McDonald with the Family Outreach Clear Lake/Bay Area.

After 28 years of providing parenting classes and coaching as well as child abuse prevention programs, Family Outreach is closing. Funding has dried up. There is no other option.

"We're very, very sad about this. And the thing that makes us so sad is that the needs are still so incredibly great," McDonald said.

So as McDonald starts the painstaking process of packing up, former clients are almost in mourning.

"It's just sad that it's going to go away," said Michelle Ziesemer, a former client.

Bergeron regrets that others won't know how it feels to have such support.

"There are lots of people who need help and they're not going to be getting that help anymore," she said.

The organization has only two part-time employees and the rest were volunteers. Their services ended Thursday but they say they're proud of the work they have done.
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