Local organizations can help

Monday, February 27, 2017

Local organizations can help those in need

It’s no secret Greene County has a lot of people struggling to get by.

According to www.stats.indiana.edu, Greene County has an estimated poverty rate of 14.7 percent (numbers based on 2015). In a breakdown of the nearly 33,000 people who live in this county, that means just shy of 5,000 people are living under the poverty line. That’s the entire population of Linton and a few more, to give you a visual.

Recently, one of our staff met with a young man who had gone from “couch surfing” to literally wandering the streets of Linton hoping to figure out his next step. After speaking with local organizations, we learned the issue of near-homelessness -- and some instances of individuals who are actually homeless -- is much more prominent than we could have imagined.

While Greene County does not currently have a shelter available for those struggling to find housing, there are several local resources available to those in need.

Local food pantries are a great supporter of individuals in need of help putting food on the table. Several food pantries are available throughout the county, including:

• Lebanon Baptist Church located on State Road 59 in Midland, is open on the fourth Thursday of the month from 6-7 p.m. You can call (812) 847-4097 for more information.

• Linton Community Food Pantry located at 440 East Street Northeast in Linton, is open Tuesday and Thursday from 1-4 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. It caters to Linton zip code only, and visitors must have photo I.D. and are limited to one visit per month.

• Pleasantville Methodist Church is open the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10:30 a.m. until noon. It serves Pleasantville, Carlisle, Paxton, Dugger, and Sandborn.

• Solsberry Christian Church located at 10825 East Christian Chuch Road is open Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesday from 2-5:30 p.m. It serves Beech, Center and Jackson townships only and visitors must have proof of address. You may call (812) 825-5222 for more information.

• Sonshine Shop located at 14 North Washington Street in Worthington, is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call (812)875-1114 for more information. Kenny Livingston serves as the director of the food pantry.

• Scotland Old Fire Station, a Catholic Charity Mobile Pantry, is open the fourth Wednesday of the month from 10:30 a.m. until noon in Scotland. Visitors must sign in and provide number of people in household.

• Assembly of God located at 337 West Main Street in Jasonville is open Sundays from noon until 12:45 p.m. and by emergency appointment. Visitors must attend a church and bring a church bulletin. Call (812) 665-2279 for more information.

• Back Door Food Pantry (mobile pantry) located at the Jasonville Methodist Church, (white building behind church), 311 South Meridian Street in Jasonville, is open the third Saturday from 10 a.m. 2 p.m. and the first Wednesday of the month from 10-11 a.m. Visitors must reside in Shakamak School district.

• Bloomfield First Baptist located at 500 Lincoln Drive in Bloomfield, is open Monday through Thursday from 9-11:45 a.m. and on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. Call (812) 384-8459 for more information.

• Community Food Pantry located at Broad and Jefferson in Lyons, is open the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon, and the third Monday of the month from 3-5 p.m. It serves Lyons, Switz City, and Newberry zip codes.

• Family Life Center located on Highway 54 in Bloomfield, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors must be a resident of Greene County and provide I.D. with current address. Limit one visit per month. Call (812) 384-1639 for more information.

The Family Life Center (FLC) is a Christ-based ministry with several opportunities for people in need.

“We don’t do handouts. We partner with people,” Executive Director Dianne Langer explained.

One of the many services FLC offers is assistance with rent and electricity when possible. For example, she said if someone had an electricity bill of $150, the ministry may contribute $50 with the stipulation the remaining $100 be covered by the individual or another ministry. Once the bill is covered, the partnership kicks in. For the $50, the individual must volunteer five hours to compensate for the funds.

FLC also offers a free hot meal each day at lunchtime. The ministry has a “free store” open to families within a 250mile radius to “shop” once a month. Individuals who need to sign up for and keep their assistance up-to-date can utilize the computer on site. The ministry also offers some free furniture and annually offers the BackPack Bonanza to prepare students for school.

Family Life Center is located at 2093 West State Road 54 and can be reached at (812) 384-1639.

The Son Shine Shop in Worthington is host to a county-wide food pantry, but offers so much more. The clothing and household items sold within the shop go to help pay the bills and continue to keep the food pantry stocked.

The Son Shine Shop provides “Love Gifts” to individuals in need in the White River Valley School District. Jacquelyn Coppock, with the Son Shine Shop, said the organization averages about $1,000 in assistance each month, helping individuals with utilities, rent and donations to local schools and other local projects. Last year, the shop donated to the WRV Elementary Emergency Fund and to a local student battling cancer.

The Son Shine Shop is located at 14 N. Washington St. in Worthington and can be reached at (812) 875-2286.

The Middle Way House of Greene County offers more specialized assistance, geared toward assisting survivors of domestic abuse.

Women’s Advocate Christa Turpin said in addition to helping women navigate the courts and legal services as needed, they help the families locate additional services in the area, such as housing, SNAP, WIC, clothing and food and utility assistance.

Middle Way House works to help women get away from dangerous situations and is a part of a regional organization, which offers housing opportunities in Bloomington when needed.

Middle Way House can be reached at (812) 384-8769.

Pace Community Action Agency also offers services to individuals in need, including Head Start, a preschool for young children from low-income families. They also help with energy assistance as needed, as well as many other programs. The Pace office in Linton is located at 109 E. Vincennes Street and can be reached at (812) 847-2237.

Many local churches are also heavily involved in philanthropic programs.

Hitting a rough patch in your life is not something to be ashamed of. It happens to the best of individuals. It is better to ask for help and keep your family clothed and have a roof over your head than to be too proud and suffer because of circumstances often outside of your control.