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Green River Ministries again going strong

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By Calen McKinney

 

The mission is simple - to help people in need. And with the community's support, Green River Ministries is still helping those who need a hand.

For the past two years, GRM hasn't received the grant funding it once depended on to operate. Since then, GRM officials have asked the community to help keep its office and homeless shelter open.

GRM, located on Clem Haskins Boulevard, began in 2002 as a nonprofit organization to serve the Campbellsville area. The GRM building houses many other community organizations and serves as a "one-stop shop" for those in need. GRM's homeless shelter opened in 2007.

Shirley Cheatham is serving as GRM's executive director. Kim Davis began working at GRM last month as its new social work and housing director.

"What we want to do is get the word out that there is a homeless shelter in Campbellsville," Davis said.

"And, you know what, there's homeless people in Campbellsville."

After GRM officials learned two years ago that it wasn't awarded a grant officials depended on to pay the bills, board members asked the community for help. And ever since, Cheatham said, the community has answered that call.

"We're back up and running," Davis said.

Davis, who moved to Campbellsville from Pennsylvania about 10 years ago, worked at GRM while completing her social work degree at Campbellsville University. She is now working toward a doctoral degree.

David said it's her job to screen those who come to GRM for help and then provide services for them once they are receiving help. Those who come to GRM can stay at the homeless shelter if they qualify. They can also get help looking for jobs and educational opportunities, as well as other resources.

"They've got to be looking for housing the whole time they're here," Davis said. "We don't just let people lay around."

Since January, Cheatham said, 47 people - including 17 children - have come to GRM for help. The shelter can house about 10 people at a time, and is often full.

Davis said GRM has applied for grant funding this year, and she believes it will be awarded, though it must be matched. Those receiving funding will be announced in August or September.

But in the meantime, several fundraisers have been scheduled to make sure GRM's services remain available.

"We're always looking for ways to keep the place open," Davis said.

Cheatham said many businesses, churches and individuals donate on a regular basis, and that helps greatly.

"We've just been operating on a shoestring," she said. "The generosity of the community has been wonderful."

On July 3, Forcht Bank and Baskin Robbins will set up shop across from the Family Fun Zone, in front of Jackson Tower, and offer ice cream in exchange for donations to GRM. The event will begin at 5:30 and end when all the ice cream is gone.

On July 3, 4 and 5, the local Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance office, Don Franklin and Coppock Appliance & Electronics will have a raffle for a Big Green Egg cooker. Residents can enter the drawing by donating $5 in cash, or 10 canned goods. All proceeds will go to GRM.

Chances will be available at many Fourth of July celebration events, and at the Farm Bureau office in Taylor County.

On July 11, GRM will host a golf scramble at Campbellsville Country Club.

Hole sponsorships are $150. Team entry is $300 and individual entry is $75. So far, Cheatham said, four teams have registered. Registration and lunch is at 12:15 p.m., and shotgun start is at 1.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive $300, $200 and $100 gift certificates, respectively, to the county club's pro shop.

GRM will again host a concert this fall to raise money. Concerts in the past have raised larges amount of money.

Cheatham said several residents have come to GRM recently in need of food. She said local restaurants often donate food, as does the Taylor County Public Library after it feeds those participating in its summer feeding program.

And though the need for help seems to be about the same, with not as much money to help GRM fulfill its mission, Cheatham said, doing so has become hard.

"As long as we can pay our mortgage, we can keep it open," she said. "Right now, we're able to."

Cheatham and Davis say those who want to donate to GRM can give microwavable food, clothing, household items and money to help their clients.

Davis said the hours at GRM have changed. The office used to be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, but is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Those wanting to volunteer at GRM, or serve as a GRM board member, can contact Davis at (270) 465-9880 to see if they qualify.

Davis said she believes the future at GRM is bright.

"I really do see good things happening in the future," she said.

Cheatham agrees.

"We've been very blessed here," she said. "God has blessed us."