Emergency assistance from Greater Spartanburg Ministries (GSM).

The faith based Greater Spartanburg Ministries provides several services to the less fortunate. The financial help provided relies on donations from the community and local churches. GSM also operates a thrift store to help raise money. The programs can provide seasonal heating or utility bill help, winter clothing, food, and more. Thousands of Spartanburg County families are supported per year with their basic needs.

Financial help from GSM

Financial aid from Greater Spartanburg Ministries will involve an interview from trained volunteers or case managers. Applicants should bring some or all of the following when seeking help with rent or a loan from the non-profit. The applicant should have a Photo ID as well as residence, Proof of Income for all adults in the home including unemployment, social security, or child support, copy of a lease or past due energy bills, and more. The case managers can also require other proof as needed.

There may be assistance offered, either loans or a grant, for Spartanburg County residents who are in a short term financial crisis. Most of the money available is raised by donations or from the thrift store operation.

The Ministry may support clients be providing vouchers for gasoline to get to work or food from the pantry. There may be medical equipment loaned out, including wheelchairs or crutches. When it comes to paying bills, this is most limited. But some families may qualify for funds for utility or water costs, back rent, or a needed prescription medication.

Referrals are provided to government utility assistance programs. The Weatherization Assistance (WAP) provides energy-efficient services at no cost to the client. There are various money-saving measures implemented that help reduce heating and cooling costs and enhance the health and safety of the homes of low-income families.

Emphasis from partners of Greater Spartanburg Ministries and the government is placed on helping the elderly, the sick, individuals with disabilities, and low income families with children. It works by providing the following services of repairing leaky duct systems, sealing air-leaks in the home with insulation, caulking, and weather-stripping, repairing and/or replacing inefficient or unsafe heating systems; and even installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for safety reasons.




Applications may be processed to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The state of South Carolina receives funding under a contract with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as well as from the Community Services Block Grant Act of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the key terms are as follows.

  • Grants for paying energy or utility bills can help low-income Spartanburg County area households avoid utility service disconnection.
  • A crisis component of LIHEAP can provide emergency funds for bills in a matter of hours.
  • The program is often combined with free conservation measures for the tenant or homeowner.

There is a Free Food Pantry and the non-profit may also have vouchers for the local Spartanburg Farmer's Market. The Ministry also partners with The Feeding America Network, Publix, Sams Club, Bi-Lo, and Wal-Mart on hunger prevention. This allows families, in particular those with children or elderly members, to eat healthy. There will be fresh vegetables and fruits (such as cabbage, onions, watermelon, corn and more) offered free of charge to the community.

The GSM pantry offers more canned type items. There may be Peanut Butter, Canned Fruits, Vegetables, or Meats, Rice, Beans, and more. Other more special programs range from Christmas meals to home delivery for the homebound and elderly in the region.

Additional services

Greater Spartanburg Ministries has a thrift store. This is for the general public, and all money raised from the sale of goods goes to pay for the other services offered by the charity. Families recovering from a disaster, such as a fire, may be allowed to shop there and they won't be charged.  This store also relies on donations, so people from the larger Spartanburg County community can drop off items that will be sold (if the quality meets certain expectations).

The inventory will vary. It will change weekly, and sometimes even daily during busy times of the year. There may be clothing, school supplies, appliances, kitchen utensils, bedding, and more. Some items are seasonal too. Such as there may be toys sold during the winter months in Spartanburg.




Free clothing may be provided in some cases. It will be gently used and is the result of donations. The items are usually focused on work needs, but there may also be some other potential clients.

For more information, Greater Spartanburg Ministries is located at 680 Asheville Hwy, Spartanburg, SC 29303. The main phone number is 864-585-9371.


By Jon McNamara

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