Monday, October 18, 2010

Ohio Benefit Bank

Ok. this is going to be a super boring blog to some, but it's something that I am excited about, so I will still share.
Here at the church we have realized recently that there is a huge need in our county and surrounding counties. We have a food pantry and clothing pantry that has grew to one of the largest benevolence helps to the families in this county... So needless to say, being the 'phone-answerer' here at the church I am talking to these families on a daily basis. Lately it's been really encouraging to see some of them make decisions to accept the Lord into their lives....
But the one thing that I  and many others have realized is that the churches funds can only be stretched so far in the benevolence ministry. And there really is nothing more difficult for me than to tell a family "sorry, we don't have the means to help you."
So with all that said, it seems there was a real God-send this past week.
Our church was invited to 'The Ohio Benefit's Bank" luncheon. When we received the invite, honestly, I had no clue what it was. It advertised this "benefit bank" as a system that would offer us FREE online access to their benevolence database. So, Pastor Bennett was interested enough to take me, and one other person to the luncheon.
When we got there what we found out was pretty cool. Basically the program was offering to train counselors (at no expense to us) to help families in their time of need by assisting them in receiving funds (49 billion unclaimed funds)  in programs like :
-Food Assistance Program
-Health Care Program
-Ohio's best RX (prescription program)
-The Golden Buckeye Program (senior citizens)
-Extra Help for Medicare Part D (low income)
- The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) (electric help)
- Child care assistance
-USDA Child Nutrition Programs (free reduced price lunch for low income families)
-FAFSA applications
- tax preparation (for free)
Everyday I talk to families who have no idea where to turn for help when they find themselves in desperate situations. Whether they found themselves in a financially detrimental place recently or over the course of a time. Many don't even know that these programs exist! And for the few that do know about them, many times they find themselves in 50 different offices filling out 50 different applications...
So in short- our church is agreeing to be a "OBB site" where families can come to a "one stop shop" and be able to fill out all of these applications (as long as they meet the government  requirements).
To me, this is exciting. It's the church actually being the hands and feet of Christ- which is awesome. Instead of giving a pat on that back saying a prayer (although I am not saying that prayer is not a powerful tool) we are actually helping feed and clothe the homeless and the financially destitute in tangible ways! 
So next week, me and two other ladies are going to venture to Cincinnati and take our first counselor training course for the OBB! Very exciting! I can't wait to see how God uses this ministry
P.S If you think that YOU or your church/ business could also be a part of this, check out the website for more info:


Martha Rose Fri Oct 22, 05:21:00 AM  

I am so excited to hear that your church is going to be an Ohio Benefit Bank site. I have been working for the last 3 years with AmeriCorps*VISTA and the Ohio Benefit Bank has been one of my biggest projects. I am always thrilled to hear about the impact it has in the community. Thank you so much for taking this tool out into the community and helping so many people.

Martha Rose
AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader SW Ohio

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