|Wed, Oct 22, 2014 05:37 AM
|Issue of October 15, 2014
March 12, 2014 | 08:41 AM
While the Great Recession has officially ended and experts say the economic numbers are on the rise, it doesn't seem to translate when it comes to people in need.
Each and every category of services provided by Harrison County Community Services went up in 2013 compared to 2012.
Rick Cooper, executive director of HCCS, updated both the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and county council on the services rendered.
New households served by HCCS increased 41 percent, from 441 to 622, and total food boxes distributed in 2013 rose 15 percent to 14,736.
Cooper said 912,000 pounds of food went through community services' system to those in need last year, an increase of 25 percent.
"Unfortunately, I think we'll surpass one million pounds this year," he said.
Food pantry requests increased 20 percent to 2,350; and the largest increase related to school supplies for children, which skyrocketed from 215 students helped to 783.
"It was a very busy year for us," Cooper said.
He said he's heard a couple of main reasons for the increase in service from residents. One, food stamp amounts have been decreased anywhere between $5 to $150 per family; and secondly, Cooper said he keeps hearing folks say they've lost their job, lost their insurance or have had the number of hours they work cut.
"People don't come to us because they want to," he said. "It is rarely abused."
Commissioner George Ethridge said the overall employment numbers, they say, are not as bad as they were.
"But that's not what we're showing here," he said.
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver said he witnessed a homeless person come out with all he could carry from HCCS and was surprised to actually receive meat. Other places only give out ramen noodles, he said.
"They really do good work," Klinstiver said.
Cooper said options not only include meat but also fresh fruit and canned goods.
He said donations of food, money and time are welcome.
Last year, HCCS received 1,906 hours of volunteer time, which was actually down from 2012 (2,259 hours).
Cooper said plans are in the works for a push to promote volunteers at the facility located at 101 Highway 62 West in downtown Corydon.
Volunteers are welcome any time. To do so, call 812-738-8143.
Cooper said volunteers are probably needed most on Mondays and Thursdays, when "the big truck" makes deliveries.
For more information about Harrison County Community Services, visit its website, www.hccsi.net.