Marking 96 years

United Methodist Community Center to hold gala April 5

WARREN — The United Methodist Community Center will mark 96 years of serving the local community with an April 5 gala.

Tayana Pannell, who is completing her first year as executive director, said the center that provides services to women, children, veterans and others in the community hits its 96th anniversary in the fall.

The center has locations in Trumbull County at First United Methodist Church, 309 N. Park Ave., Warren, where it has been for five years, and the main site in Mahoning County, 2401 Belmont Ave., Youngstown.

The center has a covenant relationship with the national organization of the United Methodist Women that provides some of the funding to support the ministries. Pannell said the centers receive some funding and support from United Methodist churches and United Methodist Women groups for programs and services.

“The center makes a difference in people’s lives with a variety of resources. We have set a goal of reaching more people in the future,” Pannell said.

Pannell said the centers provide basic needs such as food, clothing and supportive services. For veterans, there is free transportation to appointments, while seniors receive wellness checks, delivery services and transportation.

There was a summer camp for Warren children at the Highland Terrace community room, with cooking, sewing, singing, karate and guest speakers. Trumbull Homes was added for this year.

“We focused on children understanding the ramifications of their choices If you make a choice today, such as stealing, then that can follow you in your life. We want them to make positive choices,” she said.

“We are expanding our family and impact programs. The children and families are looking forward to use coming back to the Highland Terrace,” she said.

The centers are open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, with evening hours for such activities as line dancing, aerobics and Zumba. During day hours, the center provides emergency food and clothing services.

“There is so much need in the community with the economy the way it is. Our services have become so vital,” Pannell said.

The Warren site used to be located at the Rebecca Williams Center. “The loss of the Rebecca Williams Center is still felt today. We are trying to rally support and put things together so we can offer just as much,” Pannell said.

“We have a strong support system from the United Methodist Church and the Methodist women who are very active and supportive,” she said. She said volunteers from churches help at the center and have made donations.

“When I first started I was impressed how people rally together to help the centers,” Pannell said.

As for the gala, Pannell said the fundraising event will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Youngstown. During the celebration, people will share stories and testimonies of how the center has helped them, she said.

For information and gala dinner reservations, call 330-743-5149.