Local center helping those in need

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    By KATHIE HUNT

    The United Methodist Church has charities all around the country. The local charity is the Cross Roads Urban Center, said Pastor Doug McKee of the Hilltop United Methodist Church.

    The Cross Roads Urban Center is the largest emergency-food pantry in the state, said Linda Hilton, Resource Coordinator at the center.

    Cross Roads Urban Center also has a baby bank, an emergency-assistance fund, emergency-prescription refills, personal-hygiene kits and a thrift store, Hilton said.

    The emergency-food pantry gives a bag of three days worth of groceries to people who come in. Food items in the bags are determined by a dietitian so that people receive, as near as possible, the daily values needed from each food group, Hilton said.

    Tim Shultz, the food-pantry director, works on a personal level with the people who come in.

    “My job has made a tremendous impact in my life,” Schultz said. “On a personal level, it has given me a better understanding of what puts people in poverty. It has made me more compassionate and empathetic toward them.”

    Cross Roads Urban Center has a baby bank where people in need are given diapers, formula and baby food. The center’s emergency assistance fund provides rent and utility assistance to those in need, Hilton said.

    “We also give bus tokens to people who need to get to a doctor appointment or a job interview. We go through bus tokens like water. People cannot get a job if they have no way to get to the job interview,” Hilton said.

    The center gives vouchers for prescription refills, mostly for heart medicine and to the elderly. Personal hygiene kits with a toothbrush, toothpaste, disposable razor and soap are given to those who come into the center and are in need, Hilton said.

    The center’s thrift store has coats, hats, gloves, blankets and sleeping bags. The needy can receive vouchers for three outfits from the thrift store, Hilton said.

    “Three-fourths of the goods at the thrift store go out the front door at no cost,” Hilton said. “However, we do have to sell enough to keep the lights on.”

    Most of the things found at the Cross Roads Urban Center are donated. Some donations come from churches, some are donations from random people, Hilton said.

    “One-fourth of our budget comes from $5 and $10 bills. These donations come from past clients. It’s neat to see a success story come in and donate, many times when they still need the money,” Hilton said.

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