This evening we were blessed with a follow-up visit by Beth Bordeaux, Executive Director of Western Wake Crisis Ministry. This year is the 35th anniversary for WWCM and in July Beth will celebrate her first year on staff. About a year before Beth was brought in the board of directors met and re-wrote the mission statement. The new mission statement reads: “Western Wake Crisis Ministry, embracing our founder’s mission, supports and partners with those members of our community in crisis who struggle to meet their basic human needs. Our goal is to alleviate and prevent financial crisis and to help local families achieve self-sufficiency and stability in a dignified and supportive manner.” This is a bold new mission and a major shift from simply providing immediate (and all too often temporary) relief to taking a much more comprehensive approach to actually alleviate and prevent these crisis from recurring. It will take some time for WWCM to grow into this newly expanded mission but the plans are being put into place now.
The “Home Project” is the first new program being developed toward this new goal. Although not all of the details have been finalized some decisions have been made. The program is being designed for clients who have at least 50% of their income being spent on housing. This is a phenomenon called “housing burden” and can be financially crippling especially when there are children under the age of 18 and/or elderly living in the household as well. Beth’s background is in the field of homelessness and she previously worked to help families move from sheltering situations into stable homes. She understands that this is very much a relational program at a personal level. So the current need for WWCM is to bring in a social worker with these skills to work with the families, landlords, etc. In addition, some volunteers will be specially trained to work with families in this new program. These volunteers will be called “Volunteer Advocates” and will be responsible for supporting and advocating for these families in various ways. The goal of this program is behavior or life changes that will help these families help themselves not just in the short term but in the long term as well. It’s a bold new step and this will take some time to launch but the hope is to be able to report back at the end of the summer with some progress.
Of course, the regular work of the mission still continues! Here are some impressive statistics from 2017:
- 1,123 Households (3,627 family members) assisted
- $742,362 Total Aid
- $658,316 (389,925 lbs) Food distributed
- $56,499 Energy
- $21,548 Housing
- $1,703 Other
- $916 Medical
- 8,264 Volunteer hours
Before we got started with our regular program, though, we also got a special visit from Past District Governor Lion Booky from South Africa (District 410D). He was in town visiting family and decided to visit our club meeting and introduce himself. He is a member of a club in Despatch, South Africa. He told us a bit of history about his club, the surrounding areas and the fundraising events that they have each year. Their big event is the “Lion Rally” which is one of the largest motorcycle rallies in South Africa. They have more than 1500 cyclists participate each year and raise approximately $20,000!
Past President Lion Tony Granada was presented with a pin and a patch for achieving all of the requirements for a “Club Excellence” award for his year as president of our club. This is a very important award and one that our club has received for the past several years. It is an indication that the club is healthy and moving in the right direction. Congratulations Lion Tony!