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Greenville and Anderson County area Catholic church assistance programs.

A number of assistance programs are administered for the poor, low income, homeless and vulnerable, regardless of their religion or faith. All resources are limited. There are Catholic churches that are part of the Piedmont Deanery. This includes regions and counties such as Anderson and Greenville as well as other towns and cities in the upper part of South Carolina. What may be available includes case management, free food, housing/rent help, referrals, and maybe even funds for paying electric bills in a crisis. The churches and charity organization strive to help the poor, jobless and low income.

In some cases the agency may offer tangible assistance. This can help meet basic needs in an emergency. Some examples of that are below. However most of the support is provided by referrals and information on other local and government programs or non-profits.

Financial help for paying housing costs. This is very limited and churches may run out of money. However, when possible, Anderson County and other families may receive emergency rent/mortgage payment assistance. This is focused on individuals or families on the verge of homelessness.

Utility bill payment assistance includes funds for air conditioning bills during the summer. Disconnection prevention takes priority of funding. Dozens of Greenville County and other families receive some form of help per year.

Dental assistance, including dentures, can be provided. The main resource is SAVE A SMILE, which is a regional restorative dental care program that offers free dentures for low-income families with no health insurance. It provides coverage to Pickens and the greater Greenville South Carolina region.

Seniors can get help. Many retirees are moving to South Carolina. Catholic churches of the Piedmont Deanery and Greenville can provide senior consultation, information/referral, and advocacy. Sign up for resources such as Meals on Wheels or get information on local agency on aging offices in Pickens and nearby areas.

Limited case/care management, referrals, and support groups are available. Most of these are in partnership with other non-profit agencies. Contact them to learn about services in Laurens, Greenville and Anderson County.





Other emergency assistance may be offered. The goal is to meet basic needs of working poor families, children, and seniors. The charity and its Catholic churches respond to their needs with free food, gently used clothing, baby items, or vouchers to meet the immediate needs. Other seasonal resources include Christmas assistance, such as toys and meals. This is offered in partnership with churches and non-profits like the Anderson County Salvation Army.

Some of the other assistance programs in the region can include a food pantry, soup kitchen and clothes closet. Churches are aware of and know about many of these resources in Greenville and Laurens County.

The food pantries at Catholic Churches can provide groceries, canned goods, and maybe baby formula, as resources allow. Soup kitchens at local churches serve lunches, hot meals, dinners, and special Christmas and Thanksgiving meals to the poor and homeless. Other thrift stores will sell, or pass out for free, clothing items. This can even include school or work attire.

Immigrants and other newcomers to the United States and South Carolina can receive support and advice from the well regarded and certified church immigration programs. Case workers, sometimes working with local paralegals or attorneys, can offer free or low cost counseling, support, and referrals.

Qualified immigrants can get assistance with activities such as completing petitions and applications that are necessary for Citizenship. Also learn about job training and employment programs in Greenville. Just a couple examples of other services provided to newcomers include adjustment of citizenship, status petitions, and issuance of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

While several Catholic Charity centers are in the region, the main location is in Greenville South Carolina 29601-1701. Call 211 to learn about these or other programs. As noted, anyone of any religion can apply.

By Jon McNamara

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