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Rowan Helping Ministries celebrates progress at annual meeting

SALISBURY — Rowan Helping Ministries launched several initiatives this year that will provide important services to local people in need, Executive Director Kyna Grubb said at the organization’s annual meeting.

The organization is working to expand its Food for Thought program, which provides food for public schoolchildren over the weekends, and to renovate another home for its permanent supportive housing program.

Food for Thought has begun its first year of operation under Rowan Helping Ministries with an 18 percent increase in the number of children being served, Grubb said. In August, Rowan Helping Ministries and Food for Thought began working together to operate the food program under the larger organization’s umbrella so that more children could be served without increasing costs.

The program is now being supported by staff members within the larger organization, Grubb said, resulting in operational efficiencies. Students will be added to the program this school year.

Rowan Helping Ministries recently acquired a third home at North Long and Council streets to be used for permanent supportive housing, Grubb said.

The two other homes on that corner also are owned by the agency and are used for the same purpose. Renovation of the third home will be completed by the end of 2017, wrapping up the “Miracle on Long Street” initiative that began in 2012 with construction of the Robertson-Stanback Center.

Grubb also reported on a third major project that will expand the capacity of the organization. Early this year, Rowan Helping Ministries partnered with information technology experts at Delhaize and Aparro to find a new client management software for clients receiving crisis financial assistance or being served through the food pantry or clothing center.

The search group has selected a software program that will help identify trends, better assist clients, measure success and improve staff efficiencies. The next steps are to install the software and train the staff. The software is expected to be operational by March, Grubb said.

The annual meeting is held each September in recognition of retiring board members and to elect new members. Outgoing board members are Chris S. Bradshaw, Keith A. Cunningham, Scott A. Jones, Vergel L. Lattimore, Dennis L. McCoy, Teresa S. Patterson, P.J. Ricks and Willie Ray McCoy III.

New members elected to the board of directors are Wivianny Dehaas, Yvonne Waiters-Dixon, Carol M. Herndon, Bruce Lovvorn, Rosalind Lindsay, Libby Post and Kevin Smith. After the annual meeting, the board elected officers David B. Jordan, chairman; Dick Huffman, vice chairman; Kevin Smith, treasurer; and Yvonne Waiters-Dixon, secretary.

During the meeting, those gathered were reminded of the organization’s purpose through the words of Richard Elliott, a former shelter guest who has overcome alcoholism and homelessness and found a job.

Elliott told the group that when he arrived in Salisbury from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, nearly a year ago, he didn’t even remember how he had gotten here. With the help of shelter staff members and his volunteer life coach, Carolyn Barker, he turned his life around and has been sober for 10 months.

Elliott told the group that he wanted to share his personal story to shed light on how Rowan Helping Ministries’ programs serve the community and benefit those in need.

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