Letter to the Editor: St. Mary Outreach needs help to help others
Editor's Note: This letter was submitted by St. Mary Outreach.
We may not have everything that we want, but we do have what we need. We have all heard that saying before, but really, just how true is it?
There are many in our community that would disagree with that saying, for they have fallen on hard times when even the basic necessities seemed out of reach.
We are so blessed in the Tri-City area, but many of our neighbors, friends and family members are struggling this year.
In 2019, St Mary Outreach provided services for more families each month than we have in the past several years.
Unfortunately, there are many families in our area that would not have a Christmas dinner if it were not for St Mary Outreach. St Mary Outreach provided 100 Christmas Baskets to those in need in our community this holiday season.
As with every service St Mary Outreach offers, those families that received a Christmas Basket have been carefully screened.
It is important to screen those coming in for service because we have the responsibility to our donors to make sure their donations are being used efficiently and effectively. St. Mary Outreach is a private, nonprofit temporary emergency service agency.
They service the east side of St Mary Parish from Amelia to Patterson. Once referred to as a “one stop shop” by United Way for South Louisiana, St Mary Outreach offers a variety of emergency services including a food bank, a clothing closet, hygiene, cleaning supplies, baby formula and diapers, school uniforms, as well as rent and utility assistance, when funding is available.
2019 was a difficult year for St Mary Outreach.
The monetary donations are down significantly. We have several businesses, churches and individuals that donate monthly but even those donations are down this year.
St Mary Outreach has experienced a large increase in those needing assistance with utilities, especially in the Morgan City area.
For those that live in Morgan City, you already know how much utilities have fluctuated this past year!
We have always been extremely blessed in the past to break even at years end but this year does not look as promising. We operate on donations from foundations, civic organizations, churches, businesses and individuals in our community, as well as applying for grants and holding multiple fundraisers though out the year in order to meet the needs in our area.
In 2019 we hosted our our Annual Motivation for Life event with Coach Paul Mainieri, USPS food drive, Pumpkin Patch, Zoo to Boo, Fourth Annual Spirit of Homes Tour, Kiwanis Election food drive and the lighting of Bernice Street food drive.
Unfortunately, two of our fundraisers were affected by the weather.
Zoo to Boo was canceled and the Food for Families Food Drive was cut short.
We have also experienced a large decrease in USPS food drive as well as the Kiwanis Election Food Drive. We know how busy everyone can be, and funds are tight for many of us, but if everyone that can give, does give, that will add up to a lot!
It is important that the community knows that it is not just the holidays when people fall on hard times.
We see 250-350 individuals monthly, with that number doubling in the summer and usually tripling in the fourthquarter.
Our agency takes pride in serving the community.
The screening process is simple but effective.
Those seeking service must show the household’s proof of income and all current month bills, as well as the emergency that has caused them to need our service.
By our guidelines, an emergency is something that happens unexpectedly.
For example, sickness, loss of hours, job layoff, death of wage earner, higher than normal utility bill, etc.
We offer temporary assistance; a person has to show how they will be able to get back on their feet.
St Mary Outreach is here to help with a hand up and not a hand out. We are mindful to the emotions and frustration that people may feel when they are down on their luck, we also know the importance of making every dollar count.
We are asking for you to help us bless those in our community that have fallen on hard times.
The donation you make today can make a difference of a lifetime!
St. Mary Outreach