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Sunday, April 14, 2013
With no where to go and down on their luck, people have been turning to the Community Ministry of North Augusta for more than 20 years.
The Community Ministry of North Augusta is a Christian, temporary, emergency organization. Founded in 1984 by several churches who realized the need to do more than just have food pantries and clothes closets to help the poor, they decided to organize a community ministry.
According to Nancy Joyce, director of the Community Ministry of North Augusta, the ministry believes in helping people "because CMONA is a Christian organization and because the people involved with CMONA would like to do what they think Jesus would do."
The ministry has helped people that have came into their office with statements, such as, "I don't know what will come of us. We were doing good and I thought this job would benefit me and my kids, but it all went bad. Now we may lose what we had."
"Listening to client's situations like these, and seeing how we can help them is the most interesting part of my job," Joyce said.
Limited to North Augusta and Belvedere, the ministry helps people by paying overdue bills for water, electricity and gas, obtaining newly prescribed medicine (excluding narcotics) and providing food and clothing on a case-by-case basis. All a person needs to do is present a photo identification card, proof of residence/home address (within the Area 2 school district) and a Social Security card for each person in the household. The bills for which help is requested must be presented at that time.
Without the help of members of the ministry or the community of North Augusta, Community Ministry of North Augusta would not be possible, said Betsy Davis, chairperson of Community Ministry of North Augusta.
"We take anything anyone wants to give us as long as it's in good condition and the community has been wonderful in providing things, assisting us and donating when they can," she said.
Davis also noted "the volunteers come on a regular basis, and they're committed to the organization."
One of the ministry's latest projects is trying to start a mentorship program.
"We are trying to start a mentorship program where people take on adults in their 20s and 30s and help mentor them through hard times by helping them find jobs, houses and health care. The mentors would go with these young adults to these places, being more of an advocate for them to help them with the amount of paperwork that needs to be done. The mentors would also provide them with regular social skills that they would need to succeed," Davis said.
As of 2012, Community Ministry of North Augusta has helped 2,125 families 5,219 family members and 361 new families. There have been $68,437 spent on family electrical bills, $10,109 on water bills, $1,247 on family medical bills and $96,492 on food for families. Other help, including clothing, fees, furniture, meals and miscellaneous items have totaled $23,434.Currently, the ministry's average monthly volunteers is 49, but it welcomes any new person that wants to volunteer.
Joyce said Community Ministry of North Augusta is thankful for everybody who shows their appreciation.
"We have received so many thank you cards from clients, and most of our clients make sure they shop here," said Joyce. "That's their way of giving back, and we appreciate every moment of their gratitude."
Those interested in receiving help, contributing or helping in any form may call The Community Ministry of North Augusta at 803-279-5771.
Residents can help the ministry by shopping at their thrift store, located at 646 East Buena Vista Ave. Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by eating at Sno-Cap Drive In on Monday nights in April.According to Joyce, The "Sno-Cap Drive In has been kind enough to give part of their proceeds to CMONA, and we appreciate their support."
The Sno-Cap Drive In is located at 618 West Ave.