The Help Center phones have been open for nine minutes, and all eight appointment times for utility bill assistance have already been taken. The phone keeps ringing, though. People are waiting outside when the door opens at 8:30. They come for help with prescription costs, dental care vouchers, food, and clothes. Needs are great; resources, not so much — even though this center represents the pooled effort of fifty area churches.
This is a dose of cold, wet reality. The Help Center has seen the number of food requests double, but not the supply. There are plenty of clothes and shoes — yard sale leftovers from folks who are themselves struggling — but $50 for utility bills, however welcome, is not enough. The best efforts of private charity are not enough.