The Community Resource Centre (CRC) was established in 1987 as a project of Women Initiating Responsible Change, a non-profit corporation. It was funded by a tiny Ministry of Community and Social Services – Community and Neighborhood Support Services Program grant – enough to pay one part-time staff person. A local business man generously provided office space, and CRC was born. Initially, CRC provided Information & Referral Services – assisting people to access services they were entitled to.
One of the projects initiated in the early days was Buried Treasure – a shop that sold used clothing and household items. Not only was Buried Treasure a resource for members of the community, it provided a way for people to become familiar with CRC. Another early project was Adult Literacy – which linked volunteer tutors with people who needed help learning literacy skills.
The CRC was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in September 1991 and continued to manage and deliver a variety of projects, developing many County-wide initiatives and services as well as local, neighbourhood services.
We have always retained an interest in reaching and increasing access for rural and isolated communities. One of the early goals was to provide a mobile Family Resource Centre that would travel to a number of small communities in the area, lending toys and books and providing playgroups where parents of young children could meet and share their experiences. That dream was realized with the funding of the first Toy Bus in 1989. Toy Bus remains a flagship program of CRC and continues to provide support to parents of young children – now as part of the Ontario Early Years initiative.
Another early initiative was to begin the process of establishing an electronic database inventory of human services. That program continues to provide Renfrew County data for the Ontario (Canada) 211 service and to produce the County Connections directory of human services for Renfrew County.
One of the high points of CRC’s history was the purchase of the building at 15 Lake Street (formerly Burke’s Jewellers) in 1997. That building is still our primary location, and it has served us very well over the years.
Throughout its life, CRC’s primary focus has been to provide services for local families. There have been many different programs over the years, as governments’ funding priorities have shifted. But we are certain many of these services would not have been available in southwestern Renfrew County if CRC had not been there to manage and deliver them.