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How Christian Love Has Changed A Community
I live in a small town in North Carolina that has approximately 30,000 residents. This town is a true model of what a community can accomplish with the right leadership and determination.
In 1982, 11 local churches collectively started an organization called Religious Community Services (RCS) a nondenominational, not-for-profit organization. Their Mission as community-based organization, was to seek to unify local religious organizations in their commitment to minister to the basic and emergency needs of individuals and families through various forms of assistance and support; they are dedicated to the love and reverence of God through reaching out faithfully and respectfully to serve people in times of need. There are now approximately 97 churches that support RSC along with individuals, corporations and community support. All this grew from 11 churches with an idea to improve community aid.
RCS now serves a three county area and has six staff paid staff members.
RCS Food Pantry - Receives donations of food from churches, from individuals in the community, food banks, grocery stores and restaurants. Administered by volunteers.
RCS Financial Assistance – Rent, Electric, Gas… Administered by volunteers.
RCS Clothing Closet – free gently used clothing and shoes, administered by volunteers.
RCS Medication Assistance except for narcotics, administered by clinical and other volunteers
In 1984 RCS opened a Soup Kitchen – the kitchen is open seven days a week and is administered by one paid staff and the rest volunteers.
RCS Health Program - a nearby college nursing instructor brings her students to RCS to the Soup Kitchen once a week to screen people who are interested and make referrals to MERCI Clinic as needed. This joint venture exposes the nursing students to many aspects of our culture. Vulnerability of our population, resources the community provides, barriers to access to health care, mental health issues and exposure to community challenges.
In 1988 RCS opened a Homeless Shelter – They can assist approximately 20 people and also have one family room. Within criteria, they can financially accommodate people when their shelter is full.
In 1996 with RCS support, MERCI clinic opened in our community to assist people with limited income and without insurance. MERCI Clinic is committed to providing confidential medical services to individuals regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, religion or other legally protected status. They provide primary care, pharmacy and dental clinic service several times a week. This program is administered by volunteer clinical volunteers such as doctors, nurses, dentists, druggist, hygienists and other volunteers.
RCS supports the Meals on Wheels Program by appropriating funds in support of this program.
There are many other programs in this community that help people such as domestic violence, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Good Will, Salvation Army and many more that are in most communities. But RCS was started by the people in the community and that is what makes it special.
RCS as well as all the other organizations have Boards of Trustees that decide the rules and regulations that govern their assistance to protect from abuse and dependency.
To run all these programs it takes a heck of a lot of volunteers. They keep appearing from nowhere. There is a lot of good in this world and this community is one example of people's generosity. The word "volunteer" sounds so humdrum and ordinary. I would prefer to call them "Gods Angels" that is what they actually are to those they help.
This is an example of what God can do for his children through those who believe in him. God is alive and well in my town.