United Fund crucial for ministry

Published 9:51 am Monday, September 17, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry is a non-profit organization that is in the business of helping others.
With the help of community members and agencies like United Fund, the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry is able to carry out its mission.
Theresa Scott, Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry volunteer, said having the community's support is important in order for the ministry to carry on helping those in need.
"The money from United Fund is crucial for us," Scott said. "It helps our funds so that they are not so depleted."
According to the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry board of directors chairperson Dan Rhodes, the ministry has been helping the community since July of 2000.
"It's been an ongoing ministry here for the people of the Atmore community for seven years," Rhodes said in an August interview. "It's probably helped thousands of families during that time with food, paying utility bills and for bus tickets. We hardly ever turn anybody away."
The Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry was incorporated seven years ago with a purpose. The purpose of the corporation is to support any "religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational activities that could promote the advancement of well-being of mankind, either directly or indirectly through its cooperation with public or private agencies having like purposes or objects," according to the articles of incorporation.
In order to advance the well-being of mankind, Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry is committed to doing several things for the Atmore community. The corporation serves individuals who are in a crisis or emergency situation by providing "a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and assistance and compassionate care of Atmore Christians." Also, the organization will counsel and evangelize to people who are having difficult times. They will "solicit, collect, receive, accumulate, administer and disburse funds and property."
One of the goals when the corporation was established was to provide shelters, workshops or homes for individuals with social or emotional issues that control their lives. Rhodes said this need has not been met because the organization has not had the funding.
"We've just been able to meet the basic needs for individuals," he said. "We provide people with food, but that's limited to a couple times a year and we provide financial support for those who need it."
In a letter written to United Fund, Rhodes stated the ministry does many different things to help community members.
"The Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry assists the people of our community who are in need of and qualify for assistance with food, medication, restoring gas and/or electric service and Christian counseling," the letter stated. "A great number of the churches in Atmore contribute volunteers, food and money to sustain this ministry."
Board member Giles Chapman is in charge of buying the groceries for the ministry.
"Last month alone we spent $2,000 in groceries," Chapman said.
Chapman said that because groceries are so expensive, the money from United Fund and other organizations that provide funding to Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry are vital in order to help provide for other things like helping people with their utility bills.
Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry is open from 9 a.m. until noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They accept foods of all kinds, but do not accept furniture.
"We are strictly in the food business and helping with monies," Rhodes said. "The churches that participate also partner in helping to meet monetary needs."
The corporation's board of directors meets regularly to see what needs need to be met in the Atmore area.
"I don't know of any other organization in town that does what we do," Rhodes said. "We need more churches and businesses to participate. In a year's time we'll probably spend between $25,000 to $50,000 in monies alone just to keep things afloat."
Rhodes encourages community members to stop by the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry facility behind the Atmore post office building to see what exactly the volunteers do with their time spent there and that maybe they will find it in their hearts to give to those in need.
Scott said with the help of United Fund, the ministry will have that money and will not have to wait for contributions from churches and other businesses. She said it makes it easier to know they have that sum of money instead of waiting to see how much is raised.
"United Fund helps us with our bottom line," Scott said. "That's a lump sum that we know is in there. That money is crucial."

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