Roxboro Kiwanis hear about Christian Help Center
Cynthia Crumpton, executive director of the Christian Help Center presented the program at the October 17 regular meeting of the Roxboro Kiwanis Club. She was introduced by District Court Judge Mark Galloway, who told the club that she formerly worked for the state in educational enhancement, and that she was a member of the initial board of Habitat for Humanity in Person County.
She contended that the Christian Help Center (“CHC”) is misunderstood. Its mission is to make sure that those in need receive help and that those who may be gaming the system do not. It began in 1990 as a project of Person United Methodist Parish (“PUMP”). The CHC has a food pantry adn a clothing closet, and receives FEMA funds, as well as monetary and volunteer assistance from the United Way and other sources. It offers a program to help people get out of poverty.
Bag of groceries are distributed once a month to those in need, except in emergency situations when this may be done more frequently. These groceries are all wholesome and nutritious products. Crumpton indicated that the CHC routinely has trouble keeping its pantry stocked, and she distributed copies of a grocery list to the club members. These items include:
Peanut butter; bags of rice, pinto beans and sugar; canned tuna, chicken, meat (such as treet or spam); beefaroni, ravioli, beef stew, beans, soups and fruit; spaghetti noodles and sauce; soda crackers; personal grooming products such as deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and toilet tissue.
She noted that many churches contribute regularly, with both money and volunteers. The facility at 122 Depot Street in uptown Roxboro was initially open three days a week. It is now open Monday through Friday from 9a.m. to 2p.m. and from 1000 a.m. to 1p.m. on Saturday. It is also available to help with emergencies on Saturday.
She reminded the club that senior citizens may especially need help if they are living solely on Social Security. The CHC also assists single parents. Crumpton cited as an example the fact that jobs have been found for 50 families since July 1. The role of the CHC in that regard includes helping people learn to use computer to find jobs. She informed that many are underemployed in fast food jobs that pay minimum wage and have shifts with so few hours that people are unable to earn a living wage.
Crumpton spoke with pride about the recent addition of office space, allowing the former office space to become an expanded kitchen. She stated that the same people are not necessarily being fed each day, since many who live out in the county may only get to town once or twice per week.
The CHC also helps plug people into other available social services. It assists clients Help with utility deposits and it participates in the statewide Circles Program, designed to give people life skills necessary to lift them out of poverty. It also works with children in need to instruction on the social skills necessary for them to successfully function in society. This program uses volunteers are needed to work with a specific family, “encircling” them to help with life skills.
Other volunteers are available to take people to work if they have transportation issues. The ultimate goal is often to help clients progress to the point that they become candidates for a Habitat for Humanity home, making them homeowners and taxpayers.
There is always a need for soup kitchen volunteers. She noted that the CHC is eligible to buy from the Food Bank. One donor gave $500 for people who can't afford their bipolar medication. It also partners with all local grocery stores and thrift stores and with Safe Haven, and uses Person Family Medical Center as a resource.
As examples of current challenges, she noted that the CHC needed in excess of $2,000 last month to help 47 people keep the power on in their homes and over $1,800 was needed to assist with people with rent. It is even helping people who cannot afford the cost of getting their GED.
She reminded the club that the CHC keeps careful records and that clients don't receive help with financial needs more than once a year except in special circumstances. The program can be a resource for other charitable entities seeking to check on the legitimacy of a need as well.