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Assistance programs Gaston County and Gastonia.

There are dozens of churches, charities, and non-profits that offer financial help or free stuff to low income families in Gastonia and Gaston County. Find where to get grants to help with rent or mortgage payments, money to pay security deposits or utilities, free food or medical care, and other social services.

Whether it is a grant, free gasoline vouchers or clothes, or money, or some form of assistance may be offered to income qualified applicants in Gaston County. The financial assistance, as well as free stuff, can help solve a crisis or assist with stabilizing a family that lives in Gastonia or the county.

Find help with rent, debts, utility bills, and free stuff in Gaston County

The Gaston Community Action provides residents of Gastonia and surrounding communities with a variety of financial assistance programs as well as other resources. Some of the the help they provide includes :

  • Community Services Block Grant, which is targeted to making both low and middle income families residents self-sufficient. The program can provide short term help with paying rent, employment searches and job training, housing assistance, information on debt assistance programs, and transportation services.
  • Weatherization Program. Gaston Community Action will work directly with local homeowners to install free energy saving improvements in their homes, such as additional installation, calking, replacing appliances, and more. While the program is funded by the federal government, the community action group does the actual installations. These improvements can help people save hundreds of dollars per year on their energy bills.
  • Case management from Total Family Achievement - Clients can get help in accessing credit counseling, job training, employment resources and personal growth. There may also be free money. Staff from the GCA centers want clients to exit poverty. They can also offer referrals to resources such as food pantries or Emergency Solution Grant from the federal government, which can help with paying security deposits and related expenses.
  • Job and income - Anyone in the county can learn about how to increase their income, education, and make money. Community Action in Gaston County assists with that need as well. There are ideas of making free money from cell phone apps, the gig economy, and other resources.

Call the agency at (704) 861-2283. More on Gaston Community Action assistance programs.




Bessemer City Area Crisis Center, which can be reached at 704-629-2147, offers various forms of help as well as assistance to the needy in the Bessemer City area. They accomplish this goal by providing free clothing, food or other stuff and other forms of financial assistance for paying utilities, medical bills, or medicine. Get access to life maintenance needs, food, senior food program, housing and rent help, and information and referral to other government agencies and programs. For example, learn about state government mortgage programs, including from North Carolina.

Another local non-profit agency to turn to is Cherryville Area Ministries and Thrift Shop. This charity organization offers help to those in need who live in the Cherryville North Carolina area. Eligible families can receive free clothing and financial assistance for paying rent, utilities, medicine and health care debts, and food. The agency also operates a thrift shop. Transportation for senior citizens is also provided. 704-435-3816.

Dallas Christian Ministry, whose phone number is 704-922-1236, is another non-profit. Apply at this organization to get help to the needy who live in the Dallas area. They do this by providing free clothing and financial assistance for paying such expenses as utilities, medicine and by offering free food and groceries.

Another Gaston County option is Mount Holly Community Relief Organization. Provides emergency assistance and cash grants for paying rent, heating and utility bills, they offer prescription medicine and food in Mount Holly and surrounding areas and communities.

Salvation Army Center of Hope helps people of all faiths, as funding allows. Among other services they provides cash assistance with rent, food, or energy bills. There is also information on health care, information on credit card and debt programs, details on lender and bank counseling  programs such Chase assistance programs. Last, but not least, are referrals to medicine and clothing to residents of Gaston County who are in an emergency situation.





In addition to this cash help, they can also provide temporary emergency shelter for families, men, and women. Those who are hungry and need a meal, they provides breakfast, lunch and dinner through the soup kitchen for anyone who is hungry, seven days per week. They never try to turn away anyone. Dial 704-867-6145, or read more on Salvation Army Gaston County.

Cherryville Area Ministries - This non-profit runs several assistance programs. The programs can help with numerous items, and they will range from offering assistance to clients with paying for rent, electricity, car gas, prescription medicine costs, heating oil and fuel, kerosene and gas bill. Also provides vouchers for providing free clothing, groceries and food.

There are some criteria that need to be met, including the applicant must have a cut off notice or late payment notice, eviction notices are required. The agency also offers layoff assistance and help for people who lost their jobs. Thrift Store is also run. Cherryville North Carolina (704) 435-3866.

Serving Our Community with Kindness in Springwood (Belmont NC phone - (704) 827-8780) offers financial assistance including free food, utilities, rent help, prescription medicine, clothing to people with need. Provides layoff assistance as well.

Belmont Community Organization - This agency can help clients and families within service area boundaries of I-85, the Catawba River and Cramerton city. The non-profit agency provides free food, clothing, groceries, furniture and housewares, as well as limited financial assistance.

There can be grants from BCO that can be used for utilities, medicines, gasoline and auto fuel, kerosene and rent. In some cases, loans are provided for paying certain bills when no other options are available. Special programs include free back-to-school supplies, holiday meals and Christmas Angel Tree for gifts. Call (704) 825-4526, or find help from Belmont Community Organization.

Gaston Baptist Social Ministries – This organization provides emergency financial assistance for a number of basic needs. Some material items may be provided too. Get help with clothes, free food, utilities, prescription medications, furniture, Christmas Assistance, appliances, household items, and school supplies. 1607 Rankin Lake Rd, Gastonia, North Carolina 28052, phone (704) 867-9559, or read more Gaston Baptist Social Ministries.





Cramerton Ministerial Relief Fund – The fund can provide financial assistance for utilities if someone has a cut off notice. Food may be offered too. 501 Cramer Mountain Rd., Cramerton, NC 28032, phone number (704) 824-3784

Housing programs - There are several resources available in Gaston County. Most offer either direct financial aid to pay rent or they give out referrals. Each tries to prevent homelessness and rehouse those that need it. Find everything from a grant to pay a security deposit to loans, one time rent help, attorneys to battle landlords, and much more. Continue with rental assistance in Gaston County.

Health care in Gaston area

HealthNet Gaston provides uninsured and/or low income Gaston County residents access to a medical home or regular doctor. Just a sampling of the services offered include prescription medication assistance, limited specialty health care, laboratory, diagnostic aid and other hospital services, and also health coaching. Some services are offered at low cost or for free. Call the Gastonia based community clinic at (704) 867-6408.

Gaston Family Health Services Dental Clinic (Phone number (704) 853-5191) - This center, which is known as GFHS, may be able to offer family medical and dental care assistance to patients and community residents without regard to ability to pay or who do not have health or dental insurance. (704) 853-5191

Also, click here for more information on free clinics near you, as well as locations of centers in the county and surrounding region.

Resources for free food in Gaston County

The main programs are offered by food pantries and soup kitchens. The locations, such as Christian Ministries or other non-profits, will meet with the applicant and assess their needs. Based on the results, a box of free food may be offered.

The hours or each pantry will vary. Some are only open a couple days per week. Also, the contents of the bag of food will also change throughout the year, based on donations and funding levels. However, the emergency food pantries in Gaston County are almost always a great resource. There are dozens of other sites to apply at as well. Find a food pantry in Gaston.

Debt help and foreclosure prevention counseling

Two organizations to call for credit counseling, debt reduction, or foreclosure assistance include CESI Debt Management and Credit Counseling ((877) 829-0851) as well as the branch of CESI. Both of these are Gaston County non-profits that are focused on mortgage/foreclosure issues, and the department in question is known as Housing Counseling Services. Between the assistance programs offered to low to moderate income families, they can provide clients with may resources.







There is free credit and financial counseling services. Anyone in debt can try a credit card hardship program, and homeowners in Gaston, or those looking to by, can also get assistance.

Clients can learn about and enter into debt management plans and get help with paying credit card bills. In addition, qualified individuals can use a pay reduction plan to relieve calls from creditors, and learn about their rights when it comes to debt reduction. The non-profit agency is approved for pre- and post-bankruptcy services. Foreclosure and reverse mortgage counseling is also available when needed. There are many free credit counseling agencies that help with budgeting, debt reduction, and offer other services. Find more information on other locations to apply at.


By Jon McNamara

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