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HCCS celebrates 40 years

Samantha Ransdell, Guest Writer

Harrison County Community Services was founded in April 1976, with three feet of shelving and one freezer, and with this mission: Through delivery of direct services and community development, families, children and individuals gain opportunity for success.
HCCS started out partnered with the Lincoln Hills Development Corp. but soon became a separate agency. For a brief time, it shared the building with Hoosier Valley, until the building switched ownership.
For many years, Harrison County Community Services operated with a tight budget and the dedication of sometimes unpaid staff, but, thanks to many partnerships and funding from local government, HCCS has kept its doors open to serve the community.
In 1987, Harrison County Community Services began a partnership with Metro United Way, receiving funding and resources to help further its mission. HCCS was able to continue expanding its services with funding from Harrison County riverboat revenue and generous grants from the Harrison County Community Foundation after it was founded in 1996.
A few years later, in 1998, Community Services joined the network of Dare to Care food pantries. Then, in June 2000, the Harrison County Community Services Fund was established at the Foundation by the Friday Night Coffeehouse that took place at Corydon Presbyterian Church, with the intent to provide for disaster relief or funding that was beyond the normal operating budget. The Coffeehouse’s mission was to promote generous contributions to this fund, offering a family-oriented setting to enjoy musical entertainment, coffee and desserts for a suggested donation. It lasted for many years, meeting monthly at CPC.
Harrison County Community Services has done its very best to provide disaster relief for many years.
In 2008, HCCS worked quickly to provide food to effected families after a fire at Norstam Veneers, a major employer in the southern part of the county, costing more than 100 families their main source of income.
That same year, the HCCS staff worked overtime for two weeks to remain open each day to provide food, assistance and emergency information after crippling winds from Hurricane Ike left the community in an extended power outage and continued to offer long-term relief for several months after the storm.
With Dare to Care, HCCS greatly expanded its food-pantry operation in 2007 after seeing that even more help was needed in Harrison County. A total of 3,795 regular food baskets were distributed in 2006, and that number doubled to 6,918 in 2008. In 2014, Harrison County Community Services distributed a record-breaking 1,114,860 pounds of food during the year.
It has been 40 years since HCCS was founded, and we now have a food pantry with 10 freezers, five coolers and dozens of shelves. There are currently nine staff members and many faithful volunteers.
Through the years, Harrison County Community Services has received donations from businesses, organizations, schools, civic groups and individuals through fundraisers and food drives.
Thanks to the continued generosity of our partners and the community, we are able to assist households with more than just food. HCCS offers financial assistance for rent, utilities and prescriptions, as well as assistance applying for programs such as Repair Affair, SHIP counseling and more.
Editor’s note: In honor of Harrison County Community Services’ 40 years, we will have a monthly column that features the many aspects of the organization.