Sandpoint Community Resource Center
Bridging the gap between people in need and those who serve
Call for Help
It seemed all too often that Sandpoint Community Resource Center (SCRC) founders, Rich Crettol and Dave Pietz, became aware of a family or veteran living in their automobile, seeking a warm place to sleep, or needing local services for jobs, food and/or assistance.
"I knew we could do something to help others in great need in our community", says Dave Pietz, a member of the Board and Secretary for SCRC. Dave's vision to make a difference in our local community was inspired by his experiences in New Mexico assisting homeless families. Growing up in Bonners Ferry, Dave had no awareness that the invisible, yet evident challenge of homelessness exists right here in Bonner and Boundary Counties. Current SCRC President and co-founder, Rich Crettol is a 30 year veteran of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and has been involved with the community for a long time. He saw an opportunity to use his relationships to help those struggling to find the help they needed, especially veterans. And so they started out, “two men and a cell phone” creating connections one at a time.
SCRC has been developing since 2009 and while the evolution of this 'seed' has sometimes been a slow and challenging process, SCRC was successful in obtaining 501(c)(3) status in March, 2011. The mission of the Sandpoint Community Resource Center is having one central place where people in need can go to receive help. "In all of our meetings with different groups, like seniors and those who serve youth, there is a 'disconnect' for individuals navigating our community provider agencies”. In 2010, the board was strengthened by the addition of Marilyn Chambers of the Gardenia Center, Jack Dyck of Mountain West Bank and Pam Mimmack of Northwest Handmade. It wasn’t fancy but in 2013, 35 people found the help they needed with SCRC’s assistance.
Starting in late 2013, Becca Orchard joined SCRC and helped the Board initiate a strategic planning process and begin to develop the vision and structure needed to grow and meet the community’s needs. About that same time Pierce Smith came onto the board and took over the accounting area.
One of the first strategic imperatives revolved around building tools to make the job easier. They asked, “How can we help more people find what they need?” Three areas were identified and pursued: 1) Technology: Developing the capability to store and retrieve accurate service information when needs were presented; 2) Availability of knowledgeable and trained volunteer staff: to answer the calls for help; and 3) Sustainable funding: to support the vision.
It wasn’t easy, but through a dedicated board and enthusiastic volunteers (some of whom are virtual and remote), SCRC has produced some incredible achievements:
A sophisticated web presence and search capabilities which enables quick and easy access to service and resource information.
A client management system instrumental in building understanding of who in our community is in need and how we perform as a community in meeting those needs.
Initiation of a Service Provider Information Network (SPIN), leading our service providing community in developing strong relationships and effective solutions to common challenges.
Support from local and regional funders who believe that this work is adding value to our community and providing important aid to our underserved population.
With a willing heart and hard earned knowledge, SCRC will continue to work to bridge the gap between those in need and those who serve.