When you did it for the least of these, you did it for me.”
I was recently audited as the keeper of the discretionary fund for Holy Cross. In prior years, It was a big deal, and we wrote many checks for people needing financial assistance of some sort. It was usually rent, water and sewer or electric bills. Most all of the people I never got to see, we only communicated via phone. Of course, there were some “frequent fliers.” Many I heard from every year. Most of these people had no idea where or who Holy Cross was. They were simply in trouble and needed help. Through your generosity, I have to believe we did some of God’s work. However, I wish we could have done more to help these folks in the long run to enable them to get out of poverty.
When I came to work for New Hanover County on November 1, 1979, the new County Sheriff's Office and Jail opened on the corner of Market and 4th streets. To put it mildly, it was/is not a very attractive building. Many people were housed in the jail over the years. Finally, we outgrew the facility. What in the world do you do with such a building?
Along came the Harrelson family, who purchased the building for a minimal amount of money and they donated it to First Baptist Church. Long story short, this former jail now has had an unbelievable transformation. The Harrelson Building is now home to a number of nonprofit agencies. These agencies work together to serve the needs of those in need. One such place is the Help Hub.
The Help Hub is now the place all those calls that formally came to us now go. The people needing help must come in and be interviewed. The full needs of the person are assessed and help is offered. Some of this is financial just as we did, but so much more is done now. We are one of the 8 churches and many other organizations that give financial support or in-kind services to the operation.
Clients are met by volunteer GREETERS who welcome them, try to make them feel comfortable and help them fill out the required intake forms. The GREETER may also offer a bottle of water, of provide something for the children to play with while the person waits for an Advisor.
The ADVISOR is a volunteer. They are usually social workers, lawyers, financial advisors, etc., but all caring, concerned individuals dedicated to helping the clients. The behind-the-scene heroes are the DATA-ENTRY volunteers. They document how each client is assessed and what services are provided to them. In addition, they are the office personnel.
In the first nine months of operations the Help Hub has assisted over 1,000 individuals with varying levels of need. In June, DSS was out of money, and the Help Hub paid over $2,300 in power bills for that one-month period. During the quarter ending June 30 of this year, the Help Hub met with 477 clients and were able to financially assist 225 of them.
The mission of the Help Hub is to assist and direct people in a time of crisis. When individuals are scared and unsure of how to get out of a difficult situation, here is a place that cares. Along with monetary assistance, the Help Hub delivers compassion, hope and love that is greatly appreciated by the clients.
This is what we are a part of. This is an organization that is doing God’s work in a much better way than we could as an individual parish.
You can help. Please consider being a volunteer. Could you be one of the GREETERS? An ADVISOR? How about part of the office help as a DATA-ENTRY person? Let me know if you are interested in becoming part of this great operation. It will not take a lot of your time, unless you want to invest that time. Please carefully consider this ministry.
You can contact Help Hub by calling 910-769-5357, or e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, by the way. The audit this year was a piece of cake!