Wednesday, July 11, 2012
This week the doors to Care Mission in LaFayette reopen after a week of remodeling, reorganizing and cleaning. Food pantry manager Deon Phillips said the timing couldn’t be better — this is the time of year when need is the greatest of all.
“Most people think the biggest demand time is November or December,” he said. “The Care Mission sees a large increase of emergency assistance need in June, July and August and unfortunately does not receive as much financial support or hands.”
The increase is due to children out of school for the summer, he said. Parents who struggled providing one meal a day are now trying to make ends meet to provide three.
But as the need has gone up, support has gone down, said Phillips.
The Christian-based nonprofit organization needs monetary and volunteer support in order to continue to help those in emergency need throughout the Walker County community.
“We had 31 households just today, and six were new,” Phillips said. “Many of the individuals we meet have never had to ask for help before.”
Many turn to Care Mission when they have exhausted all other options. Care Mission provides food, clothing and household items, alongside faith and love.
“We care about what each individual needs,” Director Kendra Phillips said. “We feed our clients not only physically but spiritually.”
Since June 25, 2005, Care Mission has assisted members of the Walker County community and, according to Kendra Phillips, aided 573 families with food and clothes assistance just this June. She said staff tries to stress food assistance is for emergency only.
Care Mission provides assistance in the form of three meals a day for five days according to the size of the household. For example, a family of four receives approximately 100 pounds of food, said Kendra Phillips.
Food is provided from local farmers’ gardens as well as Walmart and Bi-Lo, which donate quality items close to their expiration date to the Feed America Program. Kendra Phillips said the food given to those in need is nutritious and may include grain, fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy.
The thrift store generates the funding for the Care Mission operation. Customers can donate or purchase items within the store. Some items for sale include adult jeans, dresses, sweaters, suits and jackets, each only for $1. All other clothing is sold for 50 cents unless otherwise marked.
In addition to food and clothing assistance, “Start Up Kits” are offered for those starting over due to fire, natural disaster, prison release, divorce or escape from abusive relationships, Phillips said. The kits include cookware, dishware, towels, toiletries and detergent.
“It’s been a faith building experience,” Kendra Phillips said. “It’s a feel-good feeling to know you are God’s hands and feet to help others.”