Dozens of churches in Franklin County Ohio are involved in helping the poor, homeless, substance abusers, and people living in poverty. The services will vary widely from one parish to another, and they generally will only help people that live in the immediate vicinity of the church in question.
Using a combination of volunteers, members of the parish, and fund raisers, each of the churches will do its best to assist the vulnerable. There are local churches in Columbus Ohio that help pay bills or rent, or serve a hot meal on weekdays, and other locations will offer free clothes (especially for the winter such as hats or jackets).
When there is any money available for paying bills from one of these churches, such as the Good Shepherd parish, in the Columbus region, the dollar amount provided will be minimal. Any funds are only for a crisis as well. But it may be enough to cover a rent payment or maybe utility bill to keep the heat on.
The churches are also effective at advocating for people living in poverty. So members of the parish reach out to mechanics who may volunteer to help repair a car, or some stores in Franklin County Ohio may provide gift cards for buying medications or certain special dietary food. So a number of different resources may be offered by one of these religious organizations.
Another benefit of using a church, such as Grace United of Christ, is that they help people of all religions. Whether an applicant is Catholic, Jewish, an immigrant, or someone that is not strongly into any one particular religion, they can all request support.
This depends on many factors. In general, no two parishes offer the same programs and what is provided will change both throughout the year as well as based on donation levels. Some only offer a free food pantry or hot meals, such as Trinity Church Harvest Market (1112 Demorest Road, Columbus, Ohio 43204, dial (614) 276-5090)), and some provide shelter or housing support.
The homeless, in particular the vulnerable such as single mothers, children, or veterans, can be placed into a shelter. While there, meals, free hygiene supplies, food, and other assistance is given to them. Those services help address any immediate needs. The churches in Columbus want to keep the individual safe and stable.
Financial aid for expenses such as rent or energy bills may be provided as well. There are centers, such as United Restoration Ministries at 1004 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43206 (phone (614) 542-0838) that help with housing needs. They will help as many people as possible, including abused women or people with a drug addiction, transition into more stable housing. They also offer referrals to rental assistance in Franklin County.
There are even local churches in Franklin County that meet medical needs. The First Church of God at 3480 Refugee Road, Columbus, Ohio 43232, phone (614) 235-4039 has a health care clinic. There are doctors, nurses, and hygienists that hold monthly clinics to treat basic conditions. They may give some teeth cleaning services or a basic physical. These programs held at churches are only for basic needs though, and the volunteer doctor will refer the client if they have more intensive needs.
Churches work to help clients over come poverty too. They can coordinate GED and/or computer classes. Or they allow the free use of a computer at a recreational center. Volunteers from agencies such as Columbus Public Schools’ Adult and Community Education Program work at parishes such as St. John's Catholic Church at 640 South Ohio Avenue, Columbus, OH 43205 (dial (614) 252-3132) to provide this free service to clients. Services range from an assessment to directing clients to skills based services.
During the holidays, locations such as Assembly of Faith Church (address is 1571 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43207, (614) 252-1539) step up to help the disadvantaged. They often serve a free thanksgiving meal or hold special Christmas parties. Anyone can attend, no matter their situation, and be given food, small gifts, and the ability to participate in holiday festivities with the community.
There are over 130 churches in Franklin County Ohio that offer some form of assistance to struggling families. Since there are dozens of other parishes, the best place to call for information on how to apply for help is 211. Callers will be referred to a church near them.
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