According to a report released by the Food Research and Action Center in August, the food hardship rate for the nation was 18.2 percent in the first six months of 2012 or one in five families.
The report states that 15 states had food hardship rates of 20 percent or higher (one in five) and 43 states had rates of 14 percent or higher (one in seven).
According to the report, these results are a slight dip from the 2011 rate of 18.6 percent food hardship rate reported in 2011.
Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry in Jonesville serves the needy citizens of Jonesville, Hamptonville and Boonville. In 2011 Tri-C provided 122,897 pounds of food to people struggling to feed their families. They served a total of 2,805 Yadkin County residents with various forms of food assistance, bill assistance, heating, clothing and medicine. A total of over 6,850 people were served over all.
“We have a client choice pantry where the client can actually walk through and choose what they want, much like a grocery store,” said Heather Macy, director for Tri-C. “How much food they get depends on how many people are in the family and everything is based on how much of each item we have in stock.”
Macy says that their clients may shop their pantry once a month or once every three months depending on their income, whether or not they receive food stamps and the quantity of food stamps they receive.
Tri-C also offers heating assistance from November through March. In the last few years Tri-C was only able to offer one electric heater per family because the ministry did not have enough funding to provide money for fuel purchases.
On Oct. 22, Tri-C’s board of directors voted to continue providing only electric heaters through the remainder of 2012 due to the unpredictable rates of fuel. Macy said that the board may choose to revisit the possibility of purchasing fuel in 2013 after the first of the year.
Yadkin Christian Ministries in Yadkinville and East Bend finds similar problems in Yadkin County.
““We’ve already spent $170,000 this year and we were only budgeted $199,000,” said Richard Eskew, Director of Yadkin Christian Ministries.
Eskew said that the ministry has several different programs to offer the less fortunate in the county such as bill assistance, the food pantry and medication assistance.
The ministry receives several grants and donations from individuals, churches and organizations to help keep it running but when those monies aren’t enough to serve the need in Yadkin County the ministry must turn to fundraising efforts to be able to continue.
Macy said that while the need is still great in Yadkin County she hasn’t seen a spike in requests for assistance but rather a steady increase.
“The people who are returning to us who haven’t been here in a while has increased,” Macy said. “We have had some new clients come through but I haven’t seen a huge increase. It just seems like it’s a steady increase.”
She attributes the bulk of this increase to Yadkin County residents who are unable to find work in the area. Macy said that she noticed that there are several opportunities for furthering education to qualify residents for better jobs but the lack of available jobs in the area remains the biggest problem facing unemployed Yadkin County citizens.
Macy said that another major issue is many residents who could find work in surrounding areas like Forsyth, Stokes or Surry Counties do not have reliable transportation or no transportation at all. She said that if Tri-C were able to find a partner that could offer low-cost or free automotive work or if the ministry could raise enough money to be able to offer a transportation fund they may be able to help a larger group of residents.
“We really haven’t ever had vehicle repair assistance in this area that I’m aware of and for a lot of people, their vehicle is their problem,” Macy said. “They have the desire to go but they don’t have a way to get there. It would be nice if we could offer some sort of public transportation like Winston-Salem.”
Macy said that the pantry at Tri-C is currently under stocked but food drives are getting ready to start taking place and the ministry tends to see an increase in giving in the fall and winter months.
“I think we really start seeing people in the spirit of giving in the coming months,” Macy said. “We usually have a slump where we struggle to keep the pantry filled in the summer and early fall.”
Macy said that Tri-C receives donations of drinks from Pepsi each month. She says that they also receive frequent donations of produce and deli meat from Lowe’s. Macy says the largest provider of donations is Food Lion in Jonesville.
Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry is located on U.S. 21 South in Jonesville. Their hours are 1-4 p.m. on Mondays and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday and Fridays. There is no appointment necessary to visit; clients are taken on a first come, first served basis.
All clients need to come prepared with two forms of identification, preferably a NC picture ID and Social Security Card. Clients will also need to provide proof of income, proof of expenses for rent, utilities, medicine and/or medical bills as well as receipts for unexpected expenses for the month, such as new tires or vehicle repair.
Anyone wishing to make donations to Tri-C may do so by writing a check payable to Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry and mailing it to P.O. Box 511, Elkin, NC 28621.
“If someone would like to make a donation and designate whether they want their money to go toward a specific area they may designate that in the memo portion of the check,” Macy said. “If there is a preference for how the money be used we would really like to know that so that we can use it the way the donor intended it. If there is no designation on the check we will use the money towards the most immediate need at the time it is received.”
Yadkin Christian Ministries is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Anyone wishing to receive assistance should come prepared with a state-issued photo identification showing their current address, any other government-issued identity cards, a social security card and a list of everyone in their household including names, ages, their relationship to the applicant, social security card or number.
Anyone wishing to donate to Yadkin Christian Ministries may contact their Yadkinville location at 336-677-3080 or make a check payable to Yadkin Christian Ministries and mail it to PO Box 204, Yadkinville, NC 27055.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.