our mission & Vision
Founded in 1955, Oberlin Community Services (OCS) is a responsive community organization that provides direct assistance, referrals, and other services to Oberlin and southern Lorain County residents who need help meeting basic needs. Our staff is small but remarkably dedicated and efficient. By the measure of clients served, we are the largest “safety-net” agency in our service area. We are dedicated to our clients and strive to ensure their long-term well-being.
Our vision is a sustainable, thriving community where all of its members have the resources they need to flourish.
Our service region includes the City of Oberlin, Ohio and ten nearby townships, villages and cities: Brighton, Camden, Carlisle, Huntington, Lagrange, New Russia, Penfield, Pittsfield, Rochester, and Wellington.
Area residents continue to face job loss and medical emergencies, leading to many families facing economic hardships. More and more OCS clients are middle-income people who have lost their jobs and are falling into the ranks of the low-income for the first time in their lives. Many who come in to see us are struggling with sporadic and inadequate income, hunger, lack of healthcare coverage, substandard housing, and home foreclosure. Some of our clients suffer from mental health issues, physical disabilities, and/or criminal records that keep them out of the workforce. OCS seeks to alleviate these problems by providing food and other necessary goods, vouchers for otherwise unaffordable prescription drugs or transportation, utility assistance when there is threat of shut-offs, and rent or mortgage assistance to avoid evictions and homelessness. OCS works on an interagency basis with regional partners to optimize available resources and services offered. For example, we are part of a United Way of Greater Lorain County collaborative with twelve other agencies working to prevent these problems and to create longer-term solutions through personal counseling, job advice and training, and careful case management. We engage closely with our clients and develop an ongoing relationship with them. At OCS, we focus on our key services and clients while providing a wider array of services through our partner agencies. Our goal is to contribute to the success of every family or individual in need that visits us.
OCS Available Services
Many of these services are in collaboration with other agencies:
Operate a daily choice food pantry for Lorain County residents
Provide fresh, organic produce from the OCS garden and cooking/nutrition classes for clients
Coordinate daily home delivery of food to low income and home bound residents
Support clients with casework including counseling, problem assessment, guidance with forms for employment and various assistance programs and services from other agencies
Provide awareness and training through our Women in Sustainable Employment program
Facilitate adult basic literacy, GED training and financial management classes
Arrange and provide tutoring and after school programming for area students
Provide emergency financial assistance for area residents
Avert utility shutoffs and assist with re-connections for area residents
Prevent homelessness by assisting with rent/mortgage payments
Provide gas vouchers to enable transportation assistance to appointments and interviews
Assist area residents with vouchers to cover the cost of prescription drugs
Offer opportunities for court-ordered community service
Host Holiday Helping Hands, connecting donations and gifts to needy area families
Facilitate community collaboration with networking events for area agencies and leaders
Coordinate volunteers for OCS and other agency programs