Even though it has now been nearly 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005, the devastation in St Bernard Parish remains overwhelming. Entire blocks of homes and businesses still stand empty and derelict, marked for destruction. The population is only about half of what it was before the disaster, and the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 and hurricane Isaac in 2012 have only made things harder for those determined families who have managed to return.

As they continue one of the most daunting disaster recovery efforts this nation has ever seen, the people of St. Bernard have very practical needs. They need a centralized location for basic services like food and clothes and medical care so they can receive assistance easily and with dignity. They need a place to come together and share their ongoing frustrations and successes as they continue to work towards a full recovery. And they need to know that they have not been forgotten.

The Community Center of St Bernard works to meet those needs every day. We are dedicated to providing the survivors of hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill with the practical resources they need to rebuild their lives and their communities. And we thank you for your generous help and support in making that goal a reality.

Free Income Tax Preparation Help Begins Feb 7

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law is partnering with the Community Center of St. Bernard, 1111 LeBeau St, Arabi to offer free income tax preparation services and electronic filing services through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Sessions will be held at the Community Center of St Bernard from 10 AM until 2 PM on the following Saturdays: February 7, February 21, February 28, March 14, March 21, and March 28.

No appointment is needed; however, residents are requested to arrive by 12:30 PM to ensure that their tax returns will be able to be completed by 2 PM.

In order to receive assistance, taxpayers are reminded to bring photo identification and Social Security cards for each person included on their tax returns, as well as any W-2 forms, 1099 forms, Social Security statements and all other tax documents. For further information, please contact the Loyola College of Law VITA Program at 504-861-5668. Loyola's VITA Program is affiliated with the Asset Building Coalition of Southeast Louisiana and the American Bar Association.

Community Center Executive Director Named as a 2014 Role Model by the New Orleans Young Leadership Council

Mr R.M. Iray Nabatoff, Executive Director of the Community Center of St Bernard, has been named one of 25 business, community, and civic leaders in the New Orleans Young Leadership Council's 2014 Role Model class.

Since 1986, the Young Leadership Council (YLC) has honored individuals who actively contribute to the betterment of the Greater New Orleans region. Each year's class of 25 honorees is selected by a committee composed of members of the YLC Board of Directors and past YLC Role Model Award recipients.

Honorees distinguish themselves by promoting a positive attitude and an unyielding desire to enhance the quality of life in the Greater New Orleans area, striving to unite the community in collaborative efforts for its future prosperity, serving as exemplary role models to young talent, and making significant contributions in their specific fields of endeavor.

"Each member of the 2014 Role Model class uniquely represents why strong leadership matters to a community," said 2014 YLC Board President Matthew A. Treuting. "The members of Young Leadership Council are inspired and encouraged by the work of our 2014 Role Model class members. We are proud to continue the tradition of honoring these individuals and connecting them with the leaders of tomorrow."

For more information on the New Orleans YLC and to view a list of past Role Model Award recipients, please visit www.ylcnola.org , or follow YLC on Facebook and Twitter @ylcnola.

Donations Needed!

The Community Center welcomes donations of canned foods, used clothing and books, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and baby care items for free distribution to local residents through our Mustard Seed program. All items should be in good condition and food should not be opened or spoiled. For more information about making a donation, please contact the Community Center office at 504-281-2512.

Donations of new or used books are also always appreciated. The Center would like to give a big THANK YOU to St Bernard Middle School Library Club for their generous donation of over 700 books; awesome job, everyone!!

And for those of you who have extra time, keep in mind that there are also many hands-on volunteer opportunities available at the Community Center in the office, clothing bank and food pantry distribution areas. To learn more, please go to www.ccstb.org/images/volunteers.pdf or phone the Community Center Office at 504–281–2512.

Finally, we are trying to obtain a donation of tshirts for volunteers and staff to wear during Community Center events so that visitors will know who to talk to if they have any questions or need assistance. We would ideally like to get 200 shirts in assorted sizes, with the Community Center logo on them. If you know of an organization or business that could donate these items, please let us know! We'll be glad to provide a receipt for tax deduction purposes.

Free Services Available from the CCSTB

  • Computers with internet access
  • Food Pantry
  • Clothing Bank
  • Medicaid enrollment
  • Food Stamps enrollment
  • Copier
  • Fax send and receive
  • Information and Referrals
  • Beginners' Computer Classes
  • Website Building Classes for Business Owners
  • Income tax assistance (January-April)
  • Financial literacy classes
  • Performance space for local musicians and artists
  • Space for neighborhood gatherings, community meetings and support groups
  • Satellite office space for other agencies
  • Dinner–dances, holiday celebrations, and other family–oriented gatherings