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Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center’s director headed to new job

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New leadership is coming to the Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center in January as Director Patti M. Conger moves on to a new job.

Ms. Conger, who has been with the center since the summer of 2012, is stepping down as director in order to take a position with health insurance company Fidelis Care.

“It’s been fun,” she said of her time with the center. “I’ll miss it.”

Filling Ms. Conger’s shoes in January is Lisa Van Kirk, director of the Canton Neighborhood Center.

Ms. Van Kirk, a Heuvelton resident, is well qualified for the job, Ms. Conger said.

“I think she’s going to be a good fit,” Ms. Conger said.

She said that because Ms. Van Kirk has been with the Canton center for more than a year she will be able to hit the ground running in Ogdensburg.

Ms. Van Kirk was not available for comment on Monday.

Ms. Conger said the job is time consuming, with no set routine thanks to the ever-changing needs of the community.

In addition to the city, the Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center serves Brier Hill, DePeyster, Hammond, Heuvelton, Lisbon, Morristown and Waddington.

As of Monday the center had roughly 900 people enter looking for assistance in December alone, Ms. Conger said.

“We have a very large district that we serve,” Ms. Conger said. “Generally we’re busy five days a week.”

In the winter months, Ms. Conger said, the center isn’t just helping people with food needs, but is also working with households who need assistance covering utility bills.

The city is very supportive of the center’s work, Ms. Conger said.

“We get an enormous amount of community support,” she said, adding that there are several community members who donate monthly and that “all the local churches donate on a weekly basis.”

In addition, other food pantries in the city such as the Salvation Army have a communal attitude, Ms. Conger said.

“We strive to work together,” she said, “so that our funds can be stretched a lot further.”

Ms. Conger’s last day will be Jan. 4, and Ms. Van Kirk will begin Jan. 6.

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