Even though it has now been more than 8 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.

Community Center Executive Director Named a 2013 Purpose Prize Fellow

Encore.org today announced that Mr Iray Nabatoff, Executive Director of the nonprofit Community Center of St Bernard, 1111 LeBeau St, Arabi, is a 2013 Purpose Prize fellow. The Purpose Prize is the nation's only large-scale investment in social entrepreneurs and other creative problem solvers in the second half of life.

“Purpose Prize fellows are using their passion and experience to help solve some of society's toughest problems,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org and author of The Big Shift . “They represent a growing wave of people in their 60s and beyond who are using their know-how to change the world, while shifting perceptions of what is possible in this stage of life.”

Mr Nabatoff was honored for his ongoing work as a founder and Executive Director of the Community Center of St Bernard, a nonprofit agency established in 2006 that provides a wide range of essential resources to St Bernard residents in need, including a food pantry, clothing bank, computer classes, financial literacy training, Medicaid enrollment, SNAP enrollment, and much more.

The Purpose Prize program is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies. and Symetra. The Prize is awarded by Encore.org, a nonprofit that promotes encore careers – work that is both personally meaningful and serves the greater good.

A panel of  21  judges – leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector – chose the seven winners from a pool of more than 1,000 nominees. This year's 43 fellows are finalists for The Prize. An awards ceremony will be held in December in San Francisco.

For more information about The Purpose Prize, visit: www.encore.org/prize .

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