Human services adds G-A office at First UM Church

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The timing is right for a local church and a community service agency to better help people in need in the Greencastle-Antrim area.

Waynesboro Community and Human Services will have weekly office hours from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, beginning Nov. 5, at First United Methodist Church of Greencastle, 45 N. Washington St.

WCHS has served clients from the Greencastle-Antrim School District for years, but never had a physical presence in town.

Some people who need assistance have transportation challenges. They may not have a car or may have to ask for gas money to get back to Greencastle if they visit the office on Walnut Street in Waynesboro, according to Denise Esser, director of WCHS.

Being available in Greencastle is something Esser has wanted to do for a long time and this year, the WCHS Board of Directors included that goal in the strategic plan.

At the same time, the congregation of First United Methodist Church was looking for different ways the church building could be used to help meet community needs, according to Pastor Ryan Whisel.

Whisel reached out to WCHS, where the church youth group has volunteered and a former pastor was on the board.

"All the dots connected in the way we had prayed for," Whisel said.

Esser and caseworker Julie Mohn will alternate Tuesdays and will initially offer emergency financial assistance. That includes back rent or first month's rent, utility shutoffs and prescriptions.

Appointments are recommended and can be made by calling WCHS at 717-762-6941.

In 2018, 21 of the 198 households WCHS helped with emergency financial assistance were in the Greencastle-Antrim area. Esser expects that number to grow with the new office space in Greencastle.

The G-A community already has food and clothing banks to help people, and both Esser and Whisel would like to see the WCHS program grow in other ways, such as a community health nurse, a diaper bank or backpack food program.

One program that will be available to both those in need and those who want to help are Christmas food baskets.

People who qualify for food stamps can sign up for a food baskets. People in the community can donate food to fill the baskets by bringing donations such as canned green beans, canned corn, mixed fruit, boxed stuffing, canned gravy and turkeys or ham to the church on Tuesday mornings.

WCHS, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was formed in 2011 by the merger of Waynesboro Community Services and the Waynesboro Area Human Services Council. It is funded by donations from individuals, organizations and businesses, as well as grants.

"It is not a government organization. It's a community organization established to help people," Esser said.

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