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Crisis Ministry Stories

Just in Time

Just this month our volunteer receptionist received a call from an elderly woman in need of food assistance.  Sally informed us that she was completely out of food and had no way of going to get any due to health issues that prevented her from driving. We don’t have delivery services available as a standard operation procedure but do our best to assist anyone in need when possible.

We were short staffed that particular day.  The volunteer came to me and shared her concern for Sally and wanted to work something out to get her some food. She contacted her husband and they both agreed that they would deliver food to Sally by the end of the day. 

The volunteer and her husband successfully delivered the food to Sally and relieved her worries not knowing how she was going to eat. We never want to see anyone hungry and do whatever it takes when we can. 

As the coordinator at South Crisis I have observed volunteers going beyond the call of duty to serve others.  The impact is eternal, the recipients never forget.

Without volunteers we simply are not able to see the level of success that we do.

With each client, there is an opportunity to not only bless, but also to be blessed. Thank you for reaching out and answering the call to make a difference. 

Psalm 41:1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him. 

Bryan PratherSouth Site Coordinator 

Unity is Our Strength

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Early afternoon a young mother arrived at the South Crisis Ministry, Faye with two beautiful little girls ages probably two and three. Faye was also accompanied by her DSS mentor as well as staff from another ministry partner in Buncombe County. Faye was making a transition into stable housing for her and her daughters and was here to pick up her furniture to complete her new living space. Faye was very excited, happy, and had obviously been through some tough times along with the children. The representatives that accompanied her were here to celebrate and walk alongside her each step of the way. The truck was delayed so we began to hear a little more of the story. During this conversation a vehicle pulled in our parking lot and dropped off the biggest doll house I have ever seen. The two little girls seemed to think that this was dropped off for them as a gift. One of our volunteers was quick to key in on this and made sure that this doll house would be going home with them.

The truck was full, and this doll house would not fit into a regular SUV so we decided to hold it here for pick up the next day. Words cannot describe the joy of these little girls. The volunteers found out that they needed clothes and some toys so they invited them in to peruse the collection here. They packed up what they could, there were plenty of hugs and joy as they departed. The volunteers made sure that the doll house would be ready for pick up the next day.

The lives in this family have been changed due to the partnerships who had already been involved in their lives and the volunteers had the privilege of helping put the icing on the cake. We never know who will pull into this parking lot each day. Every person we come in contact with is an opportunity to speak life and give life in the name of Christ. It takes all the moving parts to make this happen. What a fabulous day it was!

1 Corinthians 12:12
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

Bryan Prather, South Site Coordinator

Hope at the End of the Rope

Late one afternoon as the Hominy Valley Crisis Ministry was closing, Charles tapped on the door. Charles still had his work clothes on and apologized for coming in so late, but he desperately needed help. Miss Pam a volunteer counselor met Charles with a smile and offered him a seat as she asked how we could assist. Charles began telling her about how he was struggling to maintain housing for him and his son. Charles had been “robbing Peter to pay Paul” for over a year since losing his job as a cook. Charles was employed with a privately owned restaurant and the small business owners were unable to stay open after COVID-19 hit Buncombe County. Charles had spent the year applying for other positions with no luck. In an effort to keep his bills paid, Charles would do odd jobs, but they didn’t pay much. Charles was now two months behind with his rent and was worried he and his son would soon be homeless. 

Charles explained to Miss Pam that he had recently been hired at Mission Hospital in the environmental services department. He was thrilled to finally have a steady paying job again and one with benefits but he still had over $2000.00 in back rent he was unable to pay. Because the family had been great tenants for 3 years, his landlord had been lenient. However, Charles didn’t begin in his new job until July 1, and it would be mid-month before receiving his first paycheck. The single father of one was at the end of his rope and didn’t know where to turn. Miss Pam prayed with Charles and assured him that we would do everything possible to keep his family safely housed.  

The next morning Miss Pam went to work reaching out to our community partners sharing Charles story. Miss Pam advocated for Charles and asked if they would come alongside ABCCM to help this family keep their housing. Miss Pam was ecstatic as each agency agreed to pledge funding. That afternoon Miss Pam called Charles with the good news and he began to cry and thank God for ABCCM. It is the faithfulness of our member churches that allows us to help our neighbors in need. Thanks to you we were able to avoid eviction and this single father can focus on being a dad again.  

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Christy ShortridgeHominy Valley Site Coordinator

Appreciation for ABCCM

One of our volunteers who works in the food pantry, Kaye Chambers, was shopping in a local store one day. A man approached her because he saw she had a shopping cart full of toilet paper. He asked her why she had so much and immediately, Kaye said, “Oh, I’m not hoarding, I work at the ABCCM North Crisis Ministry and I am donating it to them. He told her he thought that was nice and walked off to the other side of the store.

Kaye is an avid reader and was looking through the paperback books when the man approached her for the second time. He asked her if he could give her something to give to the ministry and she said “Sure!” Much to her surprise, he pulled out a $100 bill! Kaye was taken aback and asked if she could give it to the ministry for heating assistance. He said whatever was needed that he knew that ABCCM did wonderful things for our community.

Kaye came breathlessly in so excited to tell what happened to her and handed over the $100 bill. She said, “You don’t know how this has impacted me, there are wonderful people in our community that truly do want to help.”

If you would like to donate to ABCCM or volunteer please call (828)259-5300 or visit our website www.abccm.org

Sheryl Olsen
North Samaritan Senior Site Coordinator

A Cold, Snowy Day

John came in to the Crisis Ministry to get assistance with food and kerosene. He is a relatively young man, in his late forties, but lives on disability and goes to the Kidney Dialysis Center – three times a week. Unless you know of someone on dialysis, most of us are unaware of how long it takes to do dialysis .. 4 to 5 hours each time! John goes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He tries to leave by 6 or 7am in order to get back home by noon or a little after.

John has worked all his life but now he is just not unable. He told us he hates to ask for assistance but just feels totally overwhelmed this month. We have assisted with food a few times in the past but this time, he needed some help with heating. The extended periods of really cold weather had just about pushed him over, even though he kept his thermostat low. He was just a smidge above the income threshold for heating assistance, but there is one program with less stringent guidelines. After some consultation about his condition and his genuine need, a decision was made to send 100 gallons of kerosene to his home. It was not only a blessing for him but also for the volunteer that gave him the news!

There are some federal programs in Buncombe that could assist John but having this condition takes up so much of his time. Being warm at home will give him time to access the federal programs that he is entitled.

If you would like to volunteer call (828)259-5300 or visit abccm.org/serve; or if you can help financially, go to our website abccm.org/crisis or abccm.org/safeandwarm

Sheryl Olsen
North Samaritan Senior Coordinator

Working Together, Impacting Lives

At all four of our Crisis Ministry sites, we have been inspired this past year by our faithful and committed volunteers. They work hard to meet the needs of our neighbors who come to us for help each and every day. We provide training for our volunteers but they bring their own unique gifts and talents and respond to the leading of the Spirit as they reach out with care and compassion to our families and individuals who are going through many hardships, especially during these times. From listening with a caring and compassionate heart to the many families that walk through our doors in crisis situations, to keeping the lights and heat on, to packing food boxes filled with nutritional proteins, fruits and vegetables, our volunteers make sure each person knows there is hope and they are loved.

We want to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers for supporting our neighbors in need this past year. We know many of our volunteers that have had to stay home during the pandemic still support us through their prayer and financial support and we cannot thank you enough. For those who have been volunteering in our Crisis Ministries this year, thank you for your dedication! Our neighbors have needed us now more than ever to fill financial, food, clothing and furniture gaps and you have made the meeting of those needs possible. Along with helping with those basic necessities of life, you have offered a smile, kind encouraging words and heartfelt acts of service that have let each of our hurting neighbors know someone is walking with them in their journey and they are not alone. We say it often but it is true, we absolutely cannot do what we do at our Crisis Ministry without YOU!! You truly are the hands of the Christ. Thank you from the Crisis Team and we look forward to another year of making a positive impact in our community.

If you are looking for a place to make a difference, please come join our team at Crisis. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Rev. Mary Messarra, Crisis Ministry Director

Help After Heartache

When Roger entered the doors of ABCCM Hominy Valley, he was clutching a folder
stuffed with a number of past due bills. His wife of many years had passed away three
months earlier and Roger fell into a deep depression, unable to pay the bills his wife
had been responsible for managing during their marriage. One of our counselors
listened to Roger tell about his beloved wife and how he was struggling to function
without her.

Together, he and the counselor went through all of the statements in the folder, prioritizing them one by one. ABCCM was able to help with his utility bill that was up for disconnection and provide some resources for his additional needs. Roger left that day confident his bills were going to be paid and he could manage paying future ones in a timely fashion.

Roger has utilized the HVCM food pantry helping to offset his out of pocket cost.
Roger has also been able to stay current with his bills and knows he can call the Crisis
Ministry if he ever has questions or feels overwhelmed. He is grateful for the listening
ear, advice, and assistance he received after the loss of his loved one; but even more,
the caring, compassionate hearts of those volunteers who serve.

Christy Shortridge, Coordinator