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Jefferson County Community Ministries gearing up for holidays

Financial development committee is hoping to increase donations through a letter campaign

September 27, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Last year, Jefferson County Community Ministries spent more than $150,000 serving more that 4,600 needy families with food, clothing, help with utilities, rent and even gasoline to drive to medical appointments.

In the first six months of 2012, the agency at 238 W. Washington St. served 2,500 families, including 1,500 who received 110,000 pounds of food and 1,400 more who received clothes.

Some 6,000 individuals were also served, said Robert L. Shefner, the ministry’s executive director.

Last month, the food pantry took in and distributed 20,000 pounds of food, Shefner said.

Now, the 150 volunteers are gearing up for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, their busiest time.

The ministry’s financial development committee is hoping to increase donations through a letter campaign enlisting help from businesses, organizations and individuals.

The Jefferson County Commission gives the agency $4,000 a year.

Current pressing needs include donations for the Food Pantry. The Clothing Closet can use socks and underwear, sweat shirts and pants for men and women, boots and jeans for men, and household items like sheets, towels and blankets.

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Truck and van owners are being sought to pick up large donations of clothing, and a volunteer plumber is needed to install a donated washer and dryer. A volunteer computer programmer who could modernize the agency’s computer system also is high on Shefner’s list.

The Adopt-a-Family Christmas Program needs volunteers, too.

“People come to us for many reasons and we need to learn how to help them better and faster so they can get to the point themselves where they will no longer need our services,” Shefner said.

Volunteers contribute more than 1,500 hours a month to the ministry. Many are members of the churches that support the agency.

The Jefferson County Community Ministries is supported by 50 area churches that established it 30 years ago to consolidate their charitable programs.

This year’s budget is around $215,000, more than $150,000 of which goes directly to client services. The agency owns its building and Shefner is the only paid staffer. His position is part time.

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