The Center continues to be busy day after day. We typically hit our maximum of 35 shortly after opening, and most days we end up with a few extra. My normal standard for number of people I’m able to help financially is 10, but thanks to the generosity of all our donors, I’ve been able to increase that limit. I’ve been able to interview at least 12 each day; the other day I saw 18.
Not everyone that sees me gets financial help; sometimes, they aren’t eligible, sometimes they lack sufficient documentation and I have to ask them to gather more info and return another day.
Last week, I spoke to a gentleman that was just released from prison; he needed to go to North Dakota where he would be able to enter a rehab program. I looked into it and determined we could help him. He mentioned that he was waiting on approval from his probation officer, so I asked him to get back to me when his travel was approved and I would then purchase the bus ticket. A few days later, he called and informed me the parole officer in the new location did not approve his request. His parole officer in NC was able to get him in a program in Rocky Mount. He told me since he couldn’t use the ticket, he hoped I could use the funds to help out someone else in need.
This month I’ve talked to several people that were in danger of being evicted . The rules don’t allow for any procrastination; if they have a deadline of noon on a certain day, and they don’t have their rent paid by then, the court papers are issued for eviction. We’ve seen cases where the guest spent days trying to gather funds needed but missed the deadline by a couple hours; they show up with the funds a couple hours late, but the eviction process had gone forward. This results in more fees being added to their debt for court costs. Sometimes they end up in this situation because they depleted their funds paying excessive utility bills; they try to prioritize these bills to prevent the water or electric from being turned off, but then they end up in the predicament of not having enough money left to pay their rent. It’s not unusual to see water bills in New Hanover that are hundreds of dollars; my water bill runs about $40 a month so it always stuns me when I see the bills some of these people are burdened with.
One woman I spoke with this week needed help adding minutes to her phone; she was in the process of job hunting, and a working phone is requirement on job applications. I’m not usually able to help with phone bills as most cellphone companies will not accept third party checks. Earlier this month, I received a donation of gift cards from a young woman from the Youth Ministry program. When her family asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she purposely requested gift cards with the intention of being able to pass them on to people in need, and she chose to share them with us. This allowed me to give our guest a gift card to purchase her needed minutes. Hopefully this will help her find work.
Blessings to everyone that help us continue our ministry.
Special Need of the Week – towels; we never have enough!