South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

New Brashear CARES center is open for business in Knoxville

 

Last updated 6/8/2022 at 9:26pm

The Brashear Association's new Brashear CARES Center at 320 Brownsville Rd.

The Brashear Association's new Brashear CARES Center at 320 Brownsville Road in Knoxville held a Grand Opening ceremony on Friday, May 27.

The Association recently renovated the former LifeSpan building, updating systems and reconfiguring spaces to provide multi-generational services to the community. In addition to services provided by Brashear, LifeSpan still operates out of the facility, and the offices of the Birmingham Foundation are at the location.

Due to COVID restrictions, programming is only now gearing up at the center after the Grand Opening.

Youth programs are broken down to age groups and operated by Brashear or its partners include: Strong Women, Strong Girls for girls in grades 3 to 5; STEM Coding Lab; Math Masters; and, Homework Helpers. Venture Outdoors will also offer indoor STEM activities for grades 2 to 7.

Although most caseworker services have moved to the Brashear CARES center, the Association's food pantry is still operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Henry Kaufmann Center, 2201 Salisbury Street in the South Side Slopes/Arlington area. The food pantries are currently operating as "grab and go." Call 412-620-8282 to schedule a food pick up or use Brashear's online scheduling tool at http://www.brashearassociation.org/food-assistance to let them know which day you are coming.

According to their website, annual registration is required for each household. Participants may obtain food once per month and those with children may visit twice per month.

In addition, the Association partners with the Hilltop Alliance to provide free fresh food and dairy products through the Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop Program on the second Friday of each month. The next Fresh Fridays distribution is on Friday, June 10. For more information, contact Jeph Martin at the Hilltop Alliance, 412-586-5807 ext. 3.

Andrea Matthews, executive director of The Brashear Association, explains when the next phase of the Brashear CARES Center is completed it will include a market option for food pantry clients. The market will enable clients to "shop" in the pantry, selecting which items they want and reducing waste by not taking food they aren't interest in having.

Ms. Matthews says when the market opens, it will include culturally diverse food selections. As planned, any community member not just pantry clients will be able to shop by "purchasing" or adding money to a market card.

The Association is exploring other ways to bring healthy food to the Hilltop, considered a food desert.

One option the new center includes, is a space for a café. In addition to providing a space for people to learn more about healthy food options. The café is also seen potentially as a workforce investment opportunity for youth job creation.

The Association continues to provide case manager services, such as utility assistance and rent rebates, in South Side through space in the South Side Presbyterian Church, 1926 Sarah Street. The Neighborhood Employment Center on E. Warrington Avenue offers the same services in addition to job searching.

LifeSpan has reopened in the center, offering lunch and activities to seniors Monday through Friday. LifeSpan programming is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The home delivered meals kitchen is also operating on the ground floor.

With the recent announcement of a $1M state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant, Brashear will move on with expansion plans. They have already purchased the adjacent vacant lots and two vacant buildings in the 300 block of Brownsville Road.

Ms. Matthews says demolition of the vacant buildings will begin as soon as city permits are received. Construction on the addition will begin within a year.

The expanded building will provide additional space to add youth programs identified in Brashear's Hilltop Community Report compiled from input from local stakeholders.

 

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