Rural Outreach Center celebrates a year of service in Western New York

The Rural Outreach Center (ROC), located at 730 Olean Road in East Aurora, served over 550 individuals in 2015, according to the nonprofit organization’s recently released annual report.

“Our mission is to assist, empower and elevate the impoverished rural population in southern Erie County and surrounding areas,” said Pastor Frank Cerny, ROC board chairman. “We serve with compassion, empathy and respect for all people.”

Among the ROC’s 2015 highlights was opening a temporary facility at 730 Olean Road in July, said Cerny. “Having a physical presence has increased foot traffic and allowed us to expand our services. In addition, our New Paths Redistribution Center and Health Services programs now operate out of our new facility.”

Following are additional highlights from the 2015 annual report:

• ROC social workers served 447 individuals, participated in 151 intensive home visits and intervened in 51 crisis situations.

• The New Paths Household Goods Redistribution Center served 268 households and distributed more than 700 household items valued at approximately $24,000.

• The ROC distributed thousands of non-food products such as toilet paper, hygiene items, laundry detergent and more to needy households.

• Approximately 100 free dinners were provided each month through a monthly community dinner sponsored by the Pathways Christian Fellowship.

• The Weekend Snack Pack for Kids program provided 55 school-age children with backpacks filled with nutritious take-home food every Friday during the school year. The ROC also provided 125 children with backpacks filled with school supplies.

• A total of 17 healthcare volunteers provided more than 300 hours of service for 28 patients. Additionally, a “Living with Diabetes” class was offered in the spring.

• The ROC offered a reading readiness program, an expanded four-day summer program and in-home assistance, play therapy and counseling for children.

• The 15-person Social Work Assistance Team (SWAT) provided mentoring services to help numerous clients achieve self-sufficiency.

• Other services provided included minor home repairs, financial coaching, employment assistance and more.

“The ROC continues to work in partnership with several local agencies and more than 100 dedicated volunteers to provide services to those individuals and families in need,” added Cerny, and we continue to pursue community partners to broaden our outreach.”

For more information on the Rural Outreach Center and its many services, please call 240-2220, visit the ROC’s new website at or follow the Rural Outreach Center on Facebook for frequent updates.