Stepping Outside the Box: IFM Story

Stepping Outside the Box.

Interfaith Ministries has seven programs to serve people in need in our community.  The Emergency Assistance program is best known for assisting with utility bills, rent and prescriptions.  Every now and then we get an off the wall request.  The Family Services Center, the United Way, or a local pastor will call with a person who has a unique situation calling for unusual assistance.  Sometimes the client walks through the door with a unique story.

The beauty of being a non-governmental non-profit is that our board of directors has approved rules and guidelines for how we can assist.  These guidelines allow us to use our judgement to help in ways that keep families in their homes and meet unusual needs that sometimes creep up.

  • Generally, we do not pay for prescription glasses, but a unique case came up when a local pastor brought to our attention a man who was living in danger of eviction.  He had just gotten a job but would not be able to start work without his eyeglasses.  In order to help this man get started at his new job and to prevent homelessness, we reached out to Dr. Gary Murrell who provided the glasses at cost.
  • Anyone who works in fast food can tell you, on day one you have to have non-slip shoes and the company isn’t going to pay for them.  Interfaith has helped quite a few people with purchasing first day of work non-slip shoes.
  • A schoolteacher moving into the state needed to get her teaching certificate renewed in order to start work.  Interfaith paid for her license renewal so she could support her family.
  • A recently released felon came in to get her driver’s license renewed.  When she found out she could get her CDL renewed for only a few dollars more, Interfaith agreed.  This opened up a greater pool of employment opportunities for this client.
  • The Calhoun County School’s social worker brought to our attention a young teen mother living in a tenuous situation in need of a very specific baby formula for her infant son.  While arrangements were made for long term assistance, Interfaith Ministries stepped in with a month’s supply of the special formula.
  • A social worker from RMC called to let us know a young mother was about to be discharged from RMC with her newborn child but couldn’t be released because she had no car seat.  Interfaith made a car seat available the same morning so mom and baby could ride home.

None of these cases are the usual help we provide.  We cannot start purchasing eyeglasses, no slip shoes, CDLs, car seats or infant formula for everyone who needs them.  We don’t have the resources for EVERYTHING people need.  We are so thankful to know, that every now and then, we can step outside the box and solve an immediate problem that makes a big difference in a person’s life.  

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