AARP forum on Rowan Helping Ministries Sept. 7

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of AARP will meet Sept. 7 for lunch and to hear about Rowan Helping Ministries.

Lunch begins at 12:30 p.m. at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, 1120 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Members are asked to bring something for the salad bar or dessert table. Visitors are welcome. There is no charge.

The guest speaker will be Kris Mueller, director of resource development for Rowan Helping Ministries for the past two years. For more than 30 years, the organization has served neighbors in need in the Rowan-Salisbury community, providing financial assistance, food and clothing for those in crisis, shelter and meals for the homeless, and transitional housing and other programs for those who want to change their lives and move to stability and independence.

“I have worked in a lot of different communities, but Rowan County is very unique,” Mueller said. “People who live here have an extraordinary level of compassion and concern for those in need, and they don’t even think about whether they will help — they just do it at whatever level they can — be it financial, volunteering, gifts of food, clothing pillows, flip-flops or whatever — they give to help others.”

At its October meeting, the AARP chapter will hold a food drive for Rowan Helping Ministries. Many AARP members already volunteer at the agency, which relies on 45 to 50 volunteers daily, in addition to 23 full-time and 14 part-time staff members.

Last year, the nonprofit organization provided $834,669 in financial assistance to 3,363 households in Rowan County and distributed more than 850,000 pounds of groceries through its food pantry. More than 700 people were served in the homeless shelter, and nearly 100,000 meals were provided in Jeannie’s Kitchen.

“We couldn’t do this without the help of our volunteers, who provided nearly 59,000 hours helping us provide our services to our neighbors in need,” said Mueller, who values the volunteer service at $1.28 million.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization. Rowan County residents 50 years and older are invited to join. Members do not have to be retired to join.

The annual chapter dues are $4. Meetings are the first Thursday of the month at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center.

For more information, call 704-216-7714.