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Volunteers are needed to bring back the community garden, help distribute food to 450 plus needy families, help with landscaping, tutor children, coach youth sports leagues, plan and run youth dances, art shows, job fairs and put on the best Cinco de Mayo Festival on the Eastside.

“We have big ambitions to help adults and children on Riverside’s Eastside, we just don’t have the staff or the funds to hire more staff,” said Carl M. Dameron, interim executive director of the Community Settlement Association.

He added, “Fortunately I believe the people of Riverside have the skills and the volunteer spirit to help us meet the area’s needs.”

The Community Settlement Association serves the community with several programs. Food assistance provides free food for families and homeless on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sign-ups begin at 8 a.m. and end at 11 a.m., with food distribution from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“We receive food donations from Inland Harvest, Clark’s Nutrition, Trader Joe’s, KFC, and other donors,” said Dameron. “We need more fresh fruits and vegetables, so we are starting a community garden. We need a few volunteers to help us with the program,” he added.

A United Way grant and University of California Riverside work-study tutors support free after-school programs and tutoring for K-7th students. The goal is to increase students’ academic skills by five percent and involve parents in the academic success of their children.

The Community Settlement Association’s family counseling services provide counseling for those in need at prices low-income residents can afford. Counseling costs $5 to $35 dollars per session and is available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Sessions at many other counseling centers cost $50 to $150 per session, limiting the number of people who can participate. For this program we need more funding to help more people,” said Dameron.

CSA has provided substance abuse counseling programs for more than 25 years in the form of court ordered DUI counseling for those charged with drunk driving. The program runs from 10:15 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. till noon on Saturdays.

The Community Settlement Association is a century-old organization providing services to the residents of the Eastside neighborhood of Riverside.

Founded in 1911 and incorporated as a nonprofit in 1939, the Community Settlement Association is one of California’s oldest organizations continuously providing various forms of social services, civic engagement, education, food assistance, after-school programs, cultural events, and substance abuse prevention.

To volunteer or for more information, call Andrea Gill at the Community Settlement Association at (951) 686-6266.

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