The volunteers of Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry begin each work day hand-in-hand, in a circle of prayer.
As an organization formed by the Tri-County Ministerial Association, which is comprised of dozens of local churches, the Christian faith comes into play every single day at Tri-C.
Tri-C’s statement of faith reads, “We are therefore compelled to minister to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of God’s people as a means of drawing them into the circle of God’s love.” And that is just what Tri-C does.
From the organization’s beginning in 1986, Tri-C has been serving 10 zip codes in the Tri-Country area, including Elkin, Jonesville, Dobson, Boonville, Hamptonville, Ronda, State Road, Roaring River, Traphill and Thurmond, with the general purpose of establishing a system of response to the emergency needs of the people in the area.
“The most rewarding part of this job is knowing that we make a difference in people’s lives, taking the blessings that our contributors and donors give us, and being able to pass those blessings on to others in the community,” said Heather Macy, director of Tri-C.
Last year alone, Tri-C served 6,849 people, which is 968 more than the year before. Tri-C determine’s eligibility based on case by case basis. People coming for assistance have to provide proof of income (or if unemployed, demonstrate a sincere effort to find a new job). Also now required is proof of residency, and submission of all bills.
“We take income versus expense information to determine who is eligible; all income coming into the home versus all bills that go out of the home,” Macy said.
Once the need is verified, Macy and the Tri-C volunteers get to work.
With pantries stocked to the ceiling at Tri-C, it’s easy to think that food is the only assistance the organization offers. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Tri-C is not only available to supply individuals and families with food assistance, the organization can assist with power bills, water bills, heating, cooling, medicine, and clothing.
“We can pretty much fill the need of anything a client may need. Even people that may not need food because they receive food stamps, they may just need the toiletry items because you can’t purchase those with food nutrition monies. Sometimes those are asked for more than the food,” Macy said.
While a number of people needing assistance are those with growing families, the numbers are quite high for those who are elderly, too. Often times elderly people are faced with the decision to spend money on food or medication. “We see a lot of elderly people that need assistance with medication,” Macy said.
The organization stays afloat with the help of 35 local churches and 65 regular volunteers.
“When Tri-C formed, it was a combined effort of the Ministerial Association, and that’s how we still operate. Of those churches in the Ministerial Association, some are giving food but many of those are giving money and then many people are volunteering from different churches,” said Peggy Dudley, President of Tri-C’s board.
Even with a constant flow of volunteers, more are always needed to work in various areas. Individuals can volunteer to work sorting and stocking shelves with food, maintaining daily records and files, interviewing potential clients, or by making presentations to various groups about the agency.
“We continue to always need support. We need people to volunteer,” Dudley said. “It is because the community has been so helpful that we’re able to do this.”
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org