The Sun News

Houston churches, charitable groups seek better cooperation

Some churches and charitable organizations in Houston County have formed a group to figure out how they might cooperate better to help those in need.

The Houston County Human Needs Coalition met for the first time March 13, and 24 people representing an array of organizations showed up.

The groups included the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trinity Methodist Food Pantry, Genesis House, Flint Energies, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Department of Family and Children Services, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, City of Warner Robins, 21st Century Partnership, Church of the Nazarene, Sacred Heart Christian Service Center, Middle Georgia Community Action Agency, Houston Healthcare, Rebuilding Together, Phoenix Center, Farmers Market and Rehobeth Dental Clinic.

The Rev. Scott Petersen, pastor of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, where the meeting was held, said the group will continue to meet monthly. He said it’s too soon to say exactly how the groups might work together, but one possibility is to coordinate the hours of food banks. There are several food banks in operation in the county and most are open only certain days of the week. The groups, he said, might work on coordinating when they are open so people can have access to a food bank on more days.

“There’s a lot of great organizations, but it didn’t seem like there was a lot of conversation between them,” Petersen said. “There’s a lot of great stuff going on, but a lot of silos throughout the community.”

At the very least, he said, there is value in the groups meeting to learn more about each other and how and where people in need might best be sent to get help. Flint Energies, for example, tries to connect people having trouble paying their power bill to groups that give them assistance, so the group will allow Flint to get a better idea of where to send people to get help, Petersen said.

The group is scheduled to meet again at noon Friday at All Saints’ Episcopal, which is on Watson Boulevard near Houston Healthcare. Petersen said any interested church or charitable organization is invited to attend. For more information, call the church at 923-1791.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.