Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network will try to provide support services as well as referrals to remove the difficulties families face in being able to move forward. During that period of time, some short term assistance may be provided. This can range from applications to government grants for utility bills or rent to free food from a pantry. People of all backgrounds and ages turn to faith based WIHN, including senior citizens, the unemployed, and disabled.
All of the resources from the agency are intended to be a hand up and not a hand out. So while the organization may be able to arrange short term support, as noted below, the goal is to enable families to work on living without the assistance of federal or state of North Carolina governmental programs.
USDA Commodity Food and Nutrition sponsored programs are for applicants who qualify under the income guidelines. There are several different resources available, and the primary ones are noted below.
Emergency Food Assistance, or TEFAP, is available from WIHN as a quarterly distribution program. It is income-based, and all applicants need to be within 130% of federal government poverty guidelines. This particular Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network solution is funded by the Department of Education and United States Department of Agriculture. TEFAP was designed to supplement the groceries that a household normally buys on their own.
Applications to SNAP food stamps are processed as well. Clients of this government program will be given an EBT card that they use to help pay for certain, non-meal food items. So it covers groceries, fruits, and similar items.
Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network food pantry may be the most highly used service. Based on donations from the community or local businesses, the agency may pass out boxes of groceries and other food items. The center will allow people to select only what they need. Not only will food be given from the pantry, but clients can also meet with staff members to learn about other options for getting back on track.
The Emergency Services Program from Interfaith Hospitality Network of Wilmington provides direct as well as preventative services. Any type of financial aid is used to meet the needs of low income individuals facing a short term crisis. There may be funds used for utility and rental payments. Another key components is the free information and referrals available.
Other crisis situations covered can be utility bills and heating service shut-oils, first month's rent or security deposits, Propane/Deliverable Fuel, medications, and staff also give referrals for food or other household items. So the program is flexible in the needs that can be addressed.
The program is very small in scope. It uses resources from the United Way, Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), FEMA, and donations. Due to limited resources, some applicants will be provided a loan, and they will need to repay Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network so that they can continue to keep this emergency program running.
Seasonal assistance ranges from free Thanksgiving Baskets to Christmas help. WIHN provides a full Thanksgiving meal to families in need in New Hanover County. The contents passed out will be based on family size. In addition, Christmas Meals, such as a full-prepared holiday dinner, are served. The elderly may qualify for free home delivery of meals, and this is available for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well.
During the fall and summer, back to school supplies may be offered too from the churches. This will be based on donations, and children from low income families can receive free clothing, backpacks, shoes, belts, and similar items. This can not only help the student have the items they need, but also help them build confidence.
For those that are homeless, a small shelter is on site. This can hold a limited number of families for several weeks, and then it often leads to placement into transitional housing. Both of these resources are intended to be short term in nature.
Case management is used to identify and address unmet long term needs. This is a form of self-sufficiency. The staff from Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network will provide support services and also advocate on behalf of people in poverty. The goal of this process is to remove the difficulties that low to moderate income families face in being able to move forward. Whether it is the lack of a job with livable wages or another challenge, the case management support provided enables clients to work on living without the assistance of government programs.
There is a Job Readiness class. This is used to assist the client in preparing participants for the successful search for a position and the obtaining of a job. The workshops held in New Hanover County consist of Parenting Skills, Employment Training, Computer Technology, and enhancing Money Management.
If and when needed, there is also a GED Prep Class for those participants who were unable to graduate from high school and need help in preparing to take the test. Another component is Basic Skills Literacy. This service is available to those that may have already obtained a high school diploma but still lack in the necessary basic skills.
Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network coordinates outreach for seniors. Staff will help them identify problems and act as a referral program for the elderly with available services in New Hanover County. The team from the agency advocates for senior services, rights and more. Services range from the delivery of meals to a home, saving on energy costs, Minor home repairs (as noted below), Supplying information on Medicare/Medicaid, and more.
To expand on above, Elderly and Disabled Home Repairs is sometimes undertaking by volunteers from the community. They may offer free labor, provided the materials for the repairs are paid for by the client. Anything done will be basic and includes Weatherization measures, roof repairs, minor plumbing and electrical work, Grab bars, Porch and stair repair, and other minor updates.
WIHN is based at 4938 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403. Call 910-769-4730.
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