The Transylvania Times -

Sharing House Served By The Generosity Of Our Community

 

Last updated 3/25/2020 at 5:33pm

Courtesy Photo

Pam Schou, Sharing House pantry manager and Pat Osmon, volunteer, are packing a week's supply of canned food, fresh produce, and meat for Transylvania County residents in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

One of my favorite writers is Annie Dillard, and she once remarked that we should all pay great attention to those angels in the Bible who just show up and make large pronouncements such as, "Fear not!" Dillard says to be aware when you hear "Fear Not!," because more than likely a "big assignment is on the way!"

And truly, a month ago we did not see this big assignment coming. These days have created much fear and even greater is compassion.

What we know to be true is that together in community we will not only get through this crisis, but we will become clear about what really matters in this lifetime. We have opportunities everyday to be kind, be generous, think of others, and share love in tangible ways. In a more positive way, compassion can be just as contagious as any virus.

As the director of Sharing House I can say that our community has stepped up in amazing ways, as we seek to gather resources to make sure not one of our neighbors' needs go unmet. We are in awe of a school system that cares for the children, enough to make meals and carry them through the county to be sure every child is fed. We see people pulling up to the curb for take-out meals to help our small businesses stay afloat, and businesses even in their struggle, reaching out to feed children. We know it is hard. And we know it is more than likely to become more difficult to make ends meet for a growing number in our community.

The collective faith community is pulling out all of the stops to help our neighbors in need. Not only is Sharing House distributing food to households in need, but we continue to assist for financial crisis. Numerous churches and organizations such as Anchor Baptist in Penrose, God's Way in Balsam Grove, and so many more congregations in-between are getting organized and making phone calls to check on people in their local communities.

We want the community to know that we are here for you, even if you have never been to Sharing House before- we are here to help you through. We ask that people in need call 884-2866 and leave a message. Criteria for services are persons must reside in Transylvania County and income below 200 percent of poverty line, according to family size.

Due to heavy safety precautions, we are restricting anyone from entering the building except for staff members. Currently, for food distribution, Sharing House staff will pack a week's supply of food. People in need will call for an appointment, and then be instructed to drive through the Sharing House alleyway and honk your horn to let us know you are here. Then we wheel out the food for your appointment, close the door, and you can put the goods into your vehicle. If you have need for crisis financial assistance, please call us and we will assist you over the phone. If email is more convenient, do so using crisis@sharing house.org.

Foundations and amazing donors of all levels are reaching out to give us additional funding to meet the increased needs. Last week, we served 103 families, which is on track to serve approximately 425 households with a week supply of food for every month. That reflects a 25 percent increase. With the projected 250 new households in a three-month period, we are anticipating a $90,000 increase to cover financials and food.

How can you best help with community efforts? Follow your heart, and be generous as you can. No gift is too small. I have been saying to others, the best gift you can offer community is to stay home and shelter in place. For every health care worker and social service agency on the frontline, this would make their job easier and safer. If you would like to donate to help in this crisis with Sharing House, mail checks to P.O. BOX 958, Brevard, NC or go online at http://www.sharinghouse.org for the latest news.

Transylvania Christian Ministry, Inc. is a collaborative nonprofit of 62 supporting congregations of faith as well as caring businesses and individuals. Founded in 1981, Sharing House has been serving Transylvania County residents who face critical hard times by providing food, clothing, hot showers, household goods, empowerment programs and limited financial assistance. The agency currently serves 20 percent of the population solely by the generosity of our community.

 
 

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