Help is on the way for Green River Ministries

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Group receiving money to continue helping needy

By Calen McKinney



They asked for help, and the community has responded.

After learning they wouldn't receive a large portion of their funding, Green River Ministries board members pleaded for residents to donate and help keep GRM's doors open and its homeless shelter operational.

After several fundraisers, two of which were Saturday, more than $6,000 has been raised, and the shelter is once again open and able to offer those who need it a place to stay.

GRM, located on Clem Haskins Boulevard, houses Taylor County Food Pantry, Taylor County Crisis Relief, Campbellsville Lion's Club, Campbellsville/Taylor County Habitat for Humanity and other organizations.

The GRM initiative began in 2002 as a nonprofit organization to serve the Campbellsville area, as a "one-stop shop" for those in need. The homeless shelter opened in 2007.

From July 1, 2012, to April 11, 2013, GRM housed 51 people. GRM Board of Directors Chair Dan Durham said there are about 10 people who come to the office each day for help. Those who work at GRM help residents develop skills they need to be able to support themselves, from finding a job to helping pay rent and more.

Misty Curry was the first director at GRM. Rosalind Strong-Porter took over after Curry moved to another position. Porter-Strong is also now working another job.

Shirley Cheatham, a volunteer from Campbellsville, is serving as director to complete paperwork and other administrative duties.

Leslie Carver, a Campbellsville University master of social work student, and Gloria Thompson also work at GRM.

GRM board members applied for a $62,750 emergency shelter grant in April. They were told in August, however, they won't receive that money this year. While GRM receives donations and some funding from other sources, this grant was its major source of revenue.

After announcing that GRM had lost its major funding source, board members sought the public's help to keep its doors open.

On Saturday, Campbellsville Baptist Church hosted a Turkey Trot 5K run/walk and raised $1,237 for GRM.

And on Saturday night, the second Hearts To Help fundraiser concert was hosted at Campbellsville University's Ransdell Chapel. More than $6,000 was raised.

The first Hearts To Help concert was in 2011, and proceeds benefited Taylor County Food Pantry.

On Saturday, Durham told the crowd that the monthly mortgage payment for the GRM building is $1,062.

"That building doesn't function without a budget," he said. "That building doesn't function without a mortgage, like your home does."

Durham said he discussed the GRM mortgage payment with someone just that morning, who then asked to anonymously pay the December payment.

"We have been blessed beyond blessed in the past two weeks as we have refocused ourselves, to our mission and to the will of God, more importantly," he said.

Durham said he heard someone say they have heard more about GRM in the past two weeks than in the past five years.

"That's probably true," he said.

"God is truly blessing us," Durham said. "God is working hard to bless us. And we are working hard to honor him and pay our blessings back to him."

Debbie Martin, GRM's first client, and now a member of GRM's board of directors, spoke to the crowd and said bad decisions caused her to lose everything. Martin said she went bankrupt and needed GRM to provide her a place to stay.

"It just seemed like it opened so many doors for me," Martin said. "Because I felt like at the time I was on the mountain, but God took me down to my knees in the valley and he showed me the door to go to Green River Ministries."

Martin stayed at the GRM shelter for about a month and then found an apartment. Durham said she now serves on the GRM board to help members learn what it's like to be homeless, and how they can help those who are.

He asked the audience to also help GRM.

"We primarily need your support through prayer," Durham said. "But as well, we would ask that you support in us in whatever way you can."

An offering was collected and The Lindsey Family from Greensburg donated money raised from selling CDs after the concert to GRM.

On Tuesday, Durham said the money collected this weekend will go a long way in keeping the GRM shelter open.

"This will get us well into the spring," he said. "And put us on solid ground and footing."

About 250 people attended Hearts To Help.

"This is just huge answered prayers," Durham said. "This is God telling us that we're gonna be OK."

Cheatham said those who are in need of a place to stay can come to the GRM office on Thursdays to meet with Carver, who conducts interviews that day.

Cheatham said she is pleased to see the shelter open once again.

"We've been able to purchase the things that we need to get opened," she said. "It's just been wonderful. We've been really blessed. The community has just been wonderful.

"We want to stay open and serve the people that need this," she said. "We just want to thank the community for responding to this need. Because it's very much needed in this community."

Cheatham said GRM is always in need of personal hygiene items, towels and bedding and will accepted those items as well as monetary donations.

GRM launched its new website, www.greenriverministries.org, on Saturday. There is a Paypal link on the site for those who want to donate online.

GRM also now has a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/greenriverministries, and, as of press time, 226 people have "liked" the page.

Those wanting to donate can also mail a check to Green River Ministries, 55 Clem Haskins Blvd., Campbellsville, KY 42718.

Donations can also be taken to the GRM office, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.