The Shepherd’s Staff recently launched a weekly “Did You Know” post on Facebook and it got me to thinking — maybe you didn’t know. Did you know that we help in outside the box ways; not just the standards that come to mind like help with rent, mortgage and utilities? Or, that our one-time assistance program helps with large expenses like auto and home repairs, insurance, and medical bills?
Did you know that in addition to the emergency financial assistance mentioned above, there are myriad other ways we can, and do, help financially — licensing, education certificates, prescription assistance and transportation costs to name just a few? Our in-kind programs help with everyday personal care essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and warm winter outerwear. And, although our laundry facility is closed due to COVID-19, we are still able to help folks get their clothes washed. Have you researched the cost of utilizing a laundry facility recently? I have and it is cost prohibitive for a family just trying to make ends meet.
Finally, did you know that there are other ways we can help? Work attire and shoes for folks starting a new job, think scrubs and work boots, and school supplies for children so they are prepared for the upcoming fall semester are both ways to help make families whole. Believe it or not, although students are currently completing this school year, parents will begin registering their children on June 21 for school in September. A list of needed supplies will be posted soon on our Facebook page and website (www.shepstaff.org) and financial donations are always welcome.
Why are these programs important? On one hand they help assure our neighbors are able to keep their heads above water and help them grow as individuals and families, securing a stable future for both them and our community. Sometimes that means lending a hand to assure guests have reliable transportation and/or the means to find their way to gain additional skills and education and are able to make ends meet. On the other hand, often the fix is simple, “Thanks for my soap and razors. I really need them so I can look for a job.”
For us, the reason these programs are so important is the humanity behind the experience. Some days the most important thing we do is to listen compassionately to someone’s story and access how best to help that individual. “I work, but it is not always enough to provide for me and my three children. I’m a single mom. I still need a little help. I greatly appreciate it.”
If you know someone who is struggling please have them reach out, the ways we are able to help are too numerous to list and perhaps it could be something we’ve never considered. We are a privately funded nonprofit serving the whole of Carroll County, with the help of the community. That means we literally cannot do what we do without you.
Thank you for being there for The Shepherd’s Staff and those we serve on your behalf. In the words of a guest, “you are truly a blessing in our lives.”
Brenda Meadows is the executive director of The Shepherd’s Staff.
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