Parish offers help with food, medical aid

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY ó Applying for medical and food assistance programs can be time-consuming and frustrating.
The Downtown Salisbury Cooperative Parish has a new service at Park Avenue United Methodist Church to help cut the wait time and confusion.
ěPeople go to receive benefits and they often sit for hours in waiting rooms, filling out forms,î Pastor Annalee Allen said. ěAnd after all that, they might miss qualifying by two or three dollars.î
The Park Avenue church is now an official site of the Benefit Bank of North Carolina.
Hereís how it works:
When and where? On Friday mornings at the church, 500 Park Ave., four trained volunteers help people fill out application forms and determine which assistance programs they qualify for. The church is just down the street from Rowan Helping Ministries.
What programs? People can apply for Medicaid and Medicare, Food and Nutrition Services and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also can register to vote and file federal and state tax returns. Itís free.
How long? The process takes two hours. The applicant leaves with completed forms.
What do I need to do? Make an appointment by calling Keona Kabore at 704-633-4219 any weekday before noon. She will tell you what documentation to bring.
What is the Downtown Salisbury Cooperative Parish? Allen serves as pastor for the new parish, made up of three United Methodist churches: Park Avenue, Coburn Memorial and Main Street.
Why are they doing this? The parish is dedicated to outreach ministry and wants to help with real needs, Allen said.
ěThatís what we should be about,î she said, ěhelping people with those everyday obstacles to make their life a little bit easier.î
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.