Outreach Agency Dealing With ‘Critical Emergency’

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BEREA, Ohio — A 28-year-old outreach agency in Cuyahoga County says it’s dealing with a “critical emergency.”

Church Street Ministries officials say that after helping a record number of clients throughout the holiday season, the staff has been inundated by requests for furniture, appliances, household items, prescription assistance and food.

And the agency says it’s received almost no donations for the past two months.

Frannie Millward, the agency’s director of outreach, said a number of factors have led to the shortage.

“As of January 1st there have been tremendous cuts in unemployment benefits and food stamp programs which has impacted many families. Also, the ever-increasing cost of living in Cuyahoga County has resulted in evictions and forced many families to relocate. An extreme winter has caused broken water pipes as well as roof damage to rental properties. We’ve had many families tell us that all of their personal belongings have been destroyed due to water and roof damage.”

She said she doesn’t see the current situation improving.

“It’s horrible, it’s a very serious situation and its very hard telling these people I have nothing to help them with,” said Millward. “Our waiting list is growing longer and longer. We desperately need donations of clean used furniture, appliances and household items.”

The agency needs the following: beds, mattresses, sofas, dining tables, chairs, stoves, refrigerators, microwave ovens, crock pots, washers and dryers. Church Street Ministries offers free pick-up and delivery of furniture and appliances.

Food is also in tremendous demand.

Donations of food, cash or checks are accepted at Church Street Ministries, 398 W. Bagley Road, Suite #11-12. They are all tax-deductible. For information on donations or pick-ups, call 440-826-4603.