|Inter-Faith Thrift Shop Social Services help bridge the gap|
|Thursday, March 13, 2014 8:00 PM|
BY STEPHANIE GROVES
DELPHOS — With the grips of winter lingering, higher utility bills just add to the financial balancing act many people in our community struggle with each time they try and find the means necessary to pay all of their bills.
For some people, living paycheck to paycheck is a way of life and when a variable like losing a job, running out of unemployment or losing wages due to illness happens, there is no way to bridge financial gaps alone. Reaching out to The Inter-Faith Thrift Shop’s Food Pantry/Social Services for assistance can help people both spiritually and physically and rebuild broken lives.
Since the beginning of the fiscal year on Nov. 1, Social Services has helped 273 clients with close to $41,000 to help pay rent and utility bills. Over the course of the last fiscal year — from Nov. 2012 through the end of Oct. 2013 — Social Services spent a total of $83,000 for the same types of assistance.
Executive Director Becky Strayer said the two highest utility bills at this time of year are gas and water.
“It’s a balancing act where some people might be able to pay their gas bill but can’t afford their electric or water,” Strayer reasoned.
People needing help with utility bills, rent, prescriptions or repairs — furnace, air conditioner or water pipes — can call for an appointment and get information on applying at The Ohio Benefit Bank website for assistance, which includes: food stamps, cash assistance, Medicare, Medicaid, help with taxes, medical cards and free school lunches. People can also go online to the website www.ohiobenefits.org and apply from home.
“It takes about 15 minutes and some general information to find out what someone can qualify for,” Strayer said.
Since the Food Pantry/Social Services is also a Salvation Army site, there are options available if there are certain things an individual does not qualify for through The Ohio Benefit Bank.
Last year during the sweltering heat of summer, there was an individual who contacted them for assistance with an air conditioner repair. The gentleman was elderly, not in good health and lived in a trailer.
“We helped him with the purchase of the part and a friend installed it for him,” Strayer detailed.
Clients come from all age groups and socio-economic classes.
“I have come to see the needs of these people,” Strayer said with compassion.
It’s a team effort — the wonderful people in the community, the passionate volunteers, the outstanding customers and the social services staff — and it all has to work together.
“The majority of the shop’s revenues goes towards helping the community with everyday expenses,” Strayer stated. “If we can help one person to better their life, then everything we’ve done to get to that point is well worth it.”
For assistance with questions, to make an appointment or to make a donation, call Strayer at 419-692-2942.