River Valley Community Church runs a ministry that is a cooperative effort that relies on a combination of donations, full time staff, and volunteers. The charity, and partners such as area churches, help low-income people in the community obtain food to avoid hunger. Or they can address housing needs and help people find a job. Whatever it takes, River Valley Community Church is very flexible and will try to help or offer referrals.
The programs as part of the Lifeline Ministry are involved in addressing the various changes and needs occurring in the Grants Pass Oregon community. Currently, the program is some staff members and many volunteers through funding from area churches, private donations, government grants and receipt of gifts from United Way and other contributing foundations.
One service is the car ministry. This uses volunteer mechanics and others from the community. Some costs may be involved by the applicant, but the churches can help through offering brakes checks, oil changes, tires, and lubes for people's cars for work reasons.
The Clothes Closet is open a few days per month, often in the daytime. Some of the inventory available includes bedding, household supplies, new and gently used clothing, and free school supplies are passed out. The goods are received from generous donations throughout the community. The River Valley Community Church Clothes Closet is further subdivided into categories:
A Clothing Room is located at the main campus and other participating locations in Josephine County. This may have adult and children’s attire, most of which is free to participating clients. In addition, men and women may find professional clothes suitable for job interviews. School uniforms or supplies are available for their children as well.
The other component of the Lifeline Ministry is Furniture and Appliances. The Community Church collects donations of furniture and household appliances and delivers them to qualified families. Most of these goods will only be given to people in Josephine County who have faced a loss or crisis in the form of floods, fire, etc. The charity also needs volunteer drivers and skilled mechanics to help run the program smoothly.
Lastly, general household items may be provided from the clothing center. Many members of the community generously donate so that needy families can get what they need. There may be low cost blankets, pictures, silverware, and more, which is given to neighbors in a crisis situation.
For work related reasons, Gasoline Vouchers or bus tickets are available for struggling, low-income families who otherwise would have trouble getting to their jobs (or a critical interview) due to lack of transportation. For a limited time and as resources allow, River Valley Community Church gives these unfortunate families gas vouchers or access to car repairs as noted above for emergency situations.
For disadvantaged families in the community, Fish offers emergency services for those in crisis mode. These financial aid programs oftentimes prevent eviction, an interruption in their utilities and stops homelessness.
Since funding is limited, much of this is done by providing clients with access to a central information base which contains information on various community service agencies as well as grant programs to help meet their needs. This information and subsequent referral can make an optimal match for the people to the agency that will help resolve their crisis situation.
The Outreach staff from River Valley Community Church surveys the region and is involved in linking information and its participating programs. The team from the charity works within the community to create an environment for the family to stabilize and build their independence. Coordinators meet with local schools, area churches, non-profits and various agencies to discuss options and provide assistance as needed. Some of the programs offered to clients include:
EFSP is the result of grants from the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board. This is the designated service to work with River Valley Community Church applicants. There is limited funding available therefore, the program typically runs from February through June of each year.
When it does run, it is a resource that widens the scope for disadvantaged clients to receive food, money for rent or a deposit, clothing and shelter. This is done through direct services and/or referrals to other community agencies. Rent/mortgage and utility bill assistance is also available.
River Valley Community Church has free or low cost food as part of the Lifeline Ministry. This is available for members of the community through the food pantry in Grants Pass. Part of the program is run by volunteers who provide education and access to available resources throughout the county. These working poor clients have access to information on how to get help so they are not facing hunger.
Those who reach out to the charity are given the locations to food pantries and soup kitchens and many other services if needed. River Valley Community Church works with several area community outreach programs and non-profits like Meals on Wheels, church based food pantries, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, and others.
Short term, emergency shelter is available for single women, veterans, the homeless and women with children who need safe and secure housing. These homeless or at-risk clients are given safe shelter, food and access to shower and laundry facilities. Potential individuals are invited to the walk-in area of the Lifeline Ministry and request a meeting with the social worker discuss services and their long term plans for creating an independent life.
The Lifeline Ministry also has a trailer, or mobile home program. This will both rehabilitate and repair homes for very low income families or the elderly. Applicants will need to agree to keep the home in good shape and clean in order to enroll, and they also need to be current with their rent on the trailer.
River Valley Community Church coordinates employment and education too. WIA job placement is a program for area clients from all backgrounds, religions and cultures who desire a life of independence and stability. Mentoring is offered for people on areas such as employment, academics, careers, finances and personal goals. This program runs in collaboration with local churches and well as government job centers.
The WIA – Workforce Investment Act offers clients help with finding employment. The local centers in Josephine County will allow people access to the computer lab, lending library, classroom space and the free clothes closet for work attire.
For more details, the River Valley Community Church and the Ministry are at 405 NE 6th Street in Grants Pass, OR 97526. Call (541) 476-7761.
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