Community Center of St Bernard (Arabi, LA)


  • Name:Dr. Sharon Ober
  • Title:Development Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Community Center of St Bernard
  • Address:1107 LeBeau St
    Arabi, LA 70032
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:504-281-2512
  • Main fax:916-675-7827

Organization Web

User Web and Email


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  • Mission:
  • The Community Center of St Bernard empowers families working to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Isaac and the Gulf Oil Spill by providing them with direct local access to the recovery resources they need in a safe and all-inclusive environment.

    In order to effectively fulfill this mission, the Community Center of St Bernard has developed a unique two-fold approach termed the Community Connections Model. In addition to being a direct provider of emergency human services (food pantry, clothing bank, community building/socialization events, Medicaid enrollment, food stamps enrollment, utility bill assistance, referrals, internet access & computer training), the Community Center acts as a “Primary Partner” in coordinating a multi-agency collaborative that provides St Bernard residents with local "one-stop" access to a wide range of recovery resources from across the greater New Orleans area.

    Ongoing partners providing services at the Community Center building include Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (complex food stamps inquiries, although the Center also has its own staff certified to assist specifically with new client enrollment and basic enrollment questions); Southeast Louisiana Legal Services; New Orleans AARP (senior citizen employment training); Mom & Baby Prenatal Care Van; Amerigroup (Medicare enrollment), NA Solutions Group (Narcotics Anonymous), AA Group of St Bernard (Alcoholics Anonymous), VITA program at Loyola University School of Law (income tax preparation); and St Bernard Parish Government Department of Homeland Security (emergency evacuation registration).

    The Center also partners with various organizations for one-time workshops and events throughout the year to provide socialization and community-building opportunities to combat the isolation so often experienced by disaster survivors (eg 2012 Memorial Day Community Outreach Fair, annual Blues in da Parish Festival).

    Bringing a wide selection of human services resources together at one centralized location is an important step in facilitating both awareness of and access to these services by low-income residents struggling to recover from a disaster.

    The Community Connections Model's focus on inter-agency collaborations also improves communication and coordination between social service providers, which in turn allows them to better meet the needs of low-income clients throughout all phases of disaster recovery. Moreover, for these partner agencies, serving clients at the Community Center's location is significantly cheaper than setting up an independent St Bernard Parish satellite office. This means that partner agencies can direct more funding to client services, ideally resulting in both more clients served and an improvement in each client's chances for success in achieving self-sufficiency.

    To take full advantage of the responsiveness inherent in the Community Connections Model, the Center goes beyond simply counting the number of unduplicated clients served. Every quarter, Community Center clients complete a survey that asks about the services they are currently using at the Center, and which additional resources they need. The Center also encourages ongoing feedback through comments on its social media pages.

    Collectively, this client input plays a critical role in enhancing the Center's ability to serve the disaster victims in St Bernard Parish. First of all, analyzing this data provides information about client satisfaction levels with current programs and allows the Center to modify these services if necessary to adapt to changing client demands as the recovery progresses.

    Secondly, this client feedback also enables the Center to learn about unmet needs in the community. The Center is then able to find ways to address these problems, whether by initiating a new program using the Center’s own staff (eg our Overdue Utility Bill Payment program started in June 2012), or by bringing in a partner agency that can assist clients at the Center’s facility, or by developing a source for off-site referrals.

    Overall the Community Connections Model facilitates the Community Center's mission, offering a holistic approach to providing resources through the development of wide-reaching intra- and inter-organizational relationships so that clients are able to access they appropriate assistance that they need to aid them in their return to normalcy and self-suffic

  • Overview:
  • The Community Center of St Bernard is a United Way Partner Agency and a Second Harvest (Feeding America) Member Agency.

    The Center has an 8 member Board of Directors, all of whom serve on an unpaid volunteer basis. These are members of the local community who have survived hurricane Katrina and subsequent disasters, and who are dedicated to helping other disaster victims that are still struggling to return to normalcy.
    The Center's Executive Director, Iray Nabatoff, is a senior citizen who has worked as a fulltime unpaid volunteer since the Center was founded in April, 2006. Iray was named to the St. Bernard Parish Citizens Recovery Committee by the St Bernard Parish Council and also serves as Chair of St. Bernard Community Recovery and Vice-Chair of Unified Nonprofits of Greater New Orleans. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership, a former Co-Chair of the Greater New Orleans Covering Kids & Families Coalition Representing St Bernard Parish and a member of the 2013 Class of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.

    The Development Director is also a retiree and a fulltime unpaid volunteer. The Center has 2 fulltime paid staff members (Food Pantry Manager and the Administrative Assistant). Both of these are certified to assist clients with Food Stamps enrollment in addition to their other duties, and the Administrative Assistant is also certified to do Medicaid enrollment.

    The Food Pantry Manger is assisted by 2 part-time paid warehouse assistants and the part-time paid Clothing Bank Manager. All 3 of these are low-income senior citizens who assisted at the Center through the AARP's senior employment training program before being hired.

    Two current AARP trainees are currently assigned to the Center where they are working part-time as a security guard and as an office assistant while taking the Center's Windows 7 basic computer class.

    There are also 15 local residents, senior citizens and/or disabled, who volunteer at the Center for at least 100 hours annually. And each year more than 500 short-term volunteers from all around the US and beyond come to help for a day or two in the food pantry and clothing bank.

    Current Projects:
    • Mustard Seed Distribution Program: This program addresses emergency needs by supplying free food, household supplies, hygiene products, and clothes to low-income residents. During 2012, the Mustard Seed Food Pantry provided 261,503 lbs of food to 1,510 low income families (2,987 individuals), including over 650 children ages 17 & under. We also provided an additional 104,280 lbs of food through the Food for Seniors program. And more than 200 families received free clothes at the Mustard Seed Clothing Bank every week.

    • Media Lab: The Media Lab offers free internet access and computer classes for individuals and businesses, along with faxing and copying services to enable residents to seek employment, keep in contact with family members, and find applicable federal, state and local aid programs. The media lab has 8 internet-connected computers with free printing. During 2012, a total of 2,967 sessions were logged on the media lab computers, and 180 residents signed up for free basic computer and website building classes.

    • Referrals: During 2012, the Community Center passed out 5,825 informational flyers, forms and brochures to help clients find the help they needed. Office staff also made 3,671 referrals to aid programs such as housing, utility bill assistance, child care, and dental services.

    • Community Building Events: During 2012, the Community Center of St Bernard was the site for more than 120 social events including holiday celebrations, workshops, seminars, bingo nights, and kids arts & crafts sessions. The Center provided over 6,900 lbs of food through Thanksgiving baskets and canned goods to low-income families so that local residents could enjoy a festive holiday meal at home with family and friends. And toys were given out to more than 150 low-income children at the annual Holiday Celebration and Toy GiveAway.

    During 2012, the Center continued popular activities like our weekly Bingo games and NA meetings, as well as offering a Bike Safety Workshop, a St Patrick's Day Dance, a Volunteer Appreciation Awards Ceremony and Dance, and a Memorial Day Community Outreach Fair. And we held the annual Blues in da Parish Festival on October 20, 2012.

  • History:
  • The Community Center of St Bernard is a grassroots nonprofit organization that serves disaster survivors in St Bernard Parish, Louisiana. The Community Center was founded in the Spring of 2006 in response to a petition signed by 1,500 households who called for the establishment of a permanent facility where they could continue to receive long-term disaster-recovery assistance after the initial emergency response to Katrina had ended. The St Bernard Parish government passed a resolution of full support in July 2006, and the Community Center Project, as it was then called, was underway. A flooded building was found and renovated, and on January 31, 2007 the Community Center opened its doors to the residents of St Bernard Parish.

    In order to effectively fulfill our mission of helping disaster survivors rebuild their lives and communities, the Community Center has developed a unique approach termed the Community Connections Model. In addition to being a direct service provider (food pantry, clothing bank, computer classes, Medicaid enrollment, internet computers, books, financial literacy training, information and referrals) the Community Center also coordinates a multi-agency collaborative that brings a wide range of recovery resources from across the greater New Orleans area to our centralized facility in St Bernard Parish. Free services provided to local residents through the Community Connections Model collaborations include prenatal care, legal aid, income tax preparation, food stamp application assistance, Medicare enrollment, advocacy for the disabled, senior citizen employment training, NA and AA meetings, bingo and other recreational and socialization activities.

    Using the innovative Community Connections Model has enabled the Community Center to rapidly become one of the premier recovery resource providers in the greater New Orleans area, with more than 15,700 unduplicated clients served so far. Bringing in strategic partner agencies to provide assistance at our “one stop shop” facility is a powerful way to facilitate resident awareness of and access to necessary recovery services, while avoiding duplication of services and inter-agency competition for clients and funding dollars. This networking approach also allows the Community Center maximal flexibility to readily adapt the services offered on-site to meet the changing needs of local residents as they face new challenges like hurricane Isaac.

    Developed in response to hurricane Katrina and refined after hurricane Gustav, the Community Connections Model received its trial-by-fire during the Gulf Oil Spill. A needs assessment in St Bernard Parish conducted in May 2010 by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO) found that food was the top need (92%) with clothes also cited by 32% of respondents. Through its in-house Mustard Seed Food Pantry and Clothing Bank programs, the Community Center could immediately provide these services to oil spill victims.

    Other significant needs noted by CCANO included employment assistance, medical needs, and legal issues. While it does not offer these programs itself, the Community Center had a documented history of effectively working with Partner Agencies to meet all of these needs through the Community Connections Model, and was therefore able make these services available at once to the oil spill-affected residents of St Bernard Parish through its collaborations with the St Bernard Career Solutions Center, Nunez Community College Job Center, CCANO's Community Staffing Services, St Anna’s Medical Mission, the Mom & Baby Mobile Health Unit, and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.

    In short, from day one of the Gulf Oil Spill disaster, the Community Center had established resources in place that allowed it to take a strong leadership role in immediately meeting the most pressing needs of affected residents – food, clothes, employment assistance, medical care and legal aid - thanks to the partnerships engendered by the Community Connections Model. And using this Model, the Center was able to quickly both expand existing programs and establish new services in response to client demand (eg crisis counseling, case management) - a flexibility that continues to serve it well as it faces the new challenges of hurricane Isaac.

  • Year established:2006
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:8
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:7

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:












  • Executive Director / President:
  • R.M. "Iray" Nabatoff, Executive Director

Staff Names

  • Key Staff:
  • Sharon S. Ober, PhD, Development Director
    Caroline Allen, Office Manager
    Jason Horwitz, Distribution Coordinator
    Wayne Morales, Distribution Assistant (Volunteer)
    Stephen Gonzales, Kitchen Supervisor (Volunteer)
    Christy Grimes, Office Assistant (Volunteer)


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID:74-3173649

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:743173649
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:PO BOX 1307
  • Organization City:CHALMETTE
  • Organization State:LA
  • Organization Zip:70044-1307
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:July, 2006
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2015
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:M20
  • Asset Amount:$126,969
  • Asset Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • Income Amount:$63,474
  • Income Code:3 ($25,000 - $99,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$63,474
  • Last Updated:2/25/2018 7:20:17 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.