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Helping those in need

PULASKI — “As the cost of food, utilities, rent, gasoline and the other basics of life continue to soar,” says Janet Johnson, “people in our community who were already struggling financially are being left further behind. That’s when we step in.
“We’re often the last resort for people in crisis,” explains Johnson, who is Pulaski Area Office Director of the Emergency Needs Task Force of New River Community Action. “We provide emergency assistance for families and individuals in the town, and county of Pulaski whose utilities are going to be shut off. Or who are facing eviction because they are behind on their rent or mortgage. Or who have run out of food and food stamps.”
This doesn’t mean Emergency Needs can provide ongoing support. Johnson points out that, “ because our mission is crisis response, and our budget is so limited, we can only help the same people once every 4 months.”
To make sure the Task Force helps only people who are truly in crisis, documentation of the need is required – utility shutoff notices, eviction notices, bills from heating oil or kerosene suppliers. Once the situation is verified with the vendor, a voucher is issued, followed by a check directly to the vendor.
The Emergency Needs Task Force also operates a Food Pantry in Pulaski to help people who have exhausted their food resources. Customers can come once a month and receive staples like canned goods, crackers, cereals and peanut butter to tide them over.
“We try to provide enough food to maintain a family for three or four days,” says Johnson. “Demand is especially high the last week of the month when cash and food stamps have run out.”
Dru Henderson, President of the local Task Force, considers the organization vital to the survival of our community members who are most at risk in this time of growing economic crisis across the country.
“We help families and individuals who, through no fault of their own, simply can’t meet their most basic living expenses,” she says. “Need for our services is up nearly 12% since this time last year and it is increasing rapidly every month. Of course, that means we must rely more than ever on the generosity of our donors.”
The Emergency Needs Task Force squeezes every penny of benefit possible from the donations that fund the organization.
“Not one cent of our donors’ contributions goes anywhere but to help our customers,” says Henderson. “Because our operating expenses come from our parent organization, all the money we raise goes directly for assistance. And we account for it every step of the way.”
The non-profit Emergency Needs Task Force is funded by donations from individuals, churches and civic groups.
Many of the churches include the Task Force in their annual budgets. It also receives support from United Way, Community Foundation of New River Valley, C.E. Richardson Benevolent Foundation, Bosang Trust, Trollinger Trust and other charitable foundations. and through estate planning. In recent years, corporations like Food Lion have provided grants.
“But the need is far greater than our limited resources,” says Johnson. “We understand that everybody’s budget is pinched. But imagine what it is like for people who simply don’t have a budget at all. It is times like this when the quality of our community is measured by how willing we are to help the members who need help the very most.”

If you would like to help, donations can be mailed to the Emergency Needs Task Force, P.O. Box 1422, Pulaski, VA 24301. For more information, call (540)980-0038 or (540)980-5525 or jjohnson@nrcaa.org

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Helping those in need

PULASKI — “As the cost of food, utilities, rent, gasoline and the other basics of life continue to soar,” says Janet Johnson, “people in our community who were already struggling financially are being left further behind. That’s when we step in.
“We’re often the last resort for people in crisis,” explains Johnson, who is Pulaski Area Office Director of the Emergency Needs Task Force of New River Community Action. “We provide emergency assistance for families and individuals in the town, and county of Pulaski whose utilities are going to be shut off. Or who are facing eviction because they are behind on their rent or mortgage. Or who have run out of food and food stamps.”
This doesn’t mean Emergency Needs can provide ongoing support. Johnson points out that, “ because our mission is crisis response, and our budget is so limited, we can only help the same people once every 4 months.”
To make sure the Task Force helps only people who are truly in crisis, documentation of the need is required – utility shutoff notices, eviction notices, bills from heating oil or kerosene suppliers. Once the situation is verified with the vendor, a voucher is issued, followed by a check directly to the vendor.
The Emergency Needs Task Force also operates a Food Pantry in Pulaski to help people who have exhausted their food resources. Customers can come once a month and receive staples like canned goods, crackers, cereals and peanut butter to tide them over.
“We try to provide enough food to maintain a family for three or four days,” says Johnson. “Demand is especially high the last week of the month when cash and food stamps have run out.”
Dru Henderson, President of the local Task Force, considers the organization vital to the survival of our community members who are most at risk in this time of growing economic crisis across the country.
“We help families and individuals who, through no fault of their own, simply can’t meet their most basic living expenses,” she says. “Need for our services is up nearly 12% since this time last year and it is increasing rapidly every month. Of course, that means we must rely more than ever on the generosity of our donors.”
The Emergency Needs Task Force squeezes every penny of benefit possible from the donations that fund the organization.
“Not one cent of our donors’ contributions goes anywhere but to help our customers,” says Henderson. “Because our operating expenses come from our parent organization, all the money we raise goes directly for assistance. And we account for it every step of the way.”
The non-profit Emergency Needs Task Force is funded by donations from individuals, churches and civic groups.
Many of the churches include the Task Force in their annual budgets. It also receives support from United Way, Community Foundation of New River Valley, C.E. Richardson Benevolent Foundation, Bosang Trust, Trollinger Trust and other charitable foundations. and through estate planning. In recent years, corporations like Food Lion have provided grants.
“But the need is far greater than our limited resources,” says Johnson. “We understand that everybody’s budget is pinched. But imagine what it is like for people who simply don’t have a budget at all. It is times like this when the quality of our community is measured by how willing we are to help the members who need help the very most.”

If you would like to help, donations can be mailed to the Emergency Needs Task Force, P.O. Box 1422, Pulaski, VA 24301. For more information, call (540)980-0038 or (540)980-5525 or jjohnson@nrcaa.org

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