Crisis Assistance Ministry (CAM) is dedicated to helping Charlotte families in need make ends meet with financial assistance, household goods and advocacy programs. Recently, the ends have become shorter and more frayed as the United Way cut $121,000 in funding to the ministry, partly as a result of The United Way allowing donors to designate contributions to specific groups. The "Non-Event" eliminates the costs associated with holding a special gala or social gathering, so they can channel a great deal more of the money raised directly to those who need it -- their clients.
Crisis Assistance Ministry's 8th Annual Non-Event will begin on August 5. Doug Hartjes, CAMS' director of fund development, says their goal is to raise $65,000 during this year's "Non-Event," just over half of the funding cut. The organization plans to raise this money by soliciting donations by mail from donors who have contributed to the ministry in the past. New donors, both corporate and individual, are needed to respond to the ministry's growing need for contributions.
According to Hartjes, when the United Way changed the way funds were allocated, "a lot went outside the community." A lack of funding could become a significant issue in Charlotte if the services provided by the organization are lost. Last year alone the CAM handled 17,491 emergencies, helping ease the financial burden in over 12,000 Charlotte households. With 75,000 people living in poverty in the Charlotte area, the CAM serves as a valuable resource for them as well as the city as a whole.
Along with helping clients pay rent and utility bills, Crisis Assistance provides its clients with counseling and a mentoring program with the intention of providing them the tools to avoid the same problems in the future. By helping clients with bills, the ministry keeps families in their homes, keeps the heat going in winter and helps keep food on the table year-round. The benefits for the city are fewer homeless, cold and hungry people in Charlotte.
Unfortunately, the number of people assisted by the CAM may drop with the funding cut. If the organization is forced to operate on considerably smaller capital, the ultimate loss will affect Charlotte's poor, unless the CAM can raise enough funds to make up for the cuts.
Donations to the Crisis Assistance Ministry are accepted year-round. Information about donations is available by calling: 704-371-3001, extension 143. Donations are accepted at Crisis Assistance Ministry, 500A Spratt Street, Charlotte, NC 28206. *