The good work of Inter Parish Ministry over the past 50 years was featured in a recent Cincinnati Enquirer article. A Jubilee Celebration is planned for April 6, 2014. One of the Dater Foundation’s first grants was to Inter Parish in 1986. The Foundation has made 22 grants totaling $239,000 over the years.
From: Cincinnati Enquirer. March 23, 2014
Good News + Communities section.
Inter Parish Ministry offers hope for 50 years
By Cathleen Arnold, Enquirer contributor
Uplifting hearts and giving hope for 50 years – the motto of Inter Parish Ministry’s Jubilee Celebration – resonates in the experiences of thousands of residents of eastern Hamilton County and Clermont County.
More than 4,450 families were served by Inter Parish Ministry in Newtown in 2013, according to Gail Koford, development director.
The annual celebration – a by-the-bite, sip-of-soup benefit that also includes live and silent auctions – is a primary fundraiser for the many programs of Inter Parish Ministry. This year’s event, to be held April 6 at the Oasis Conference Center outside Loveland, also honors Inter Parish Ministry’s 50th year of service.
Inter Parish Ministry offers a food pantry, nearly-new free clothing pantry, emergency financial aid and other support services.
Sarah Cadle, service coordinator, recounts an experience with a long married couple who had never before been in need. The 52-year-old husband, who had worked steadily since he was 14 years old, had recently lost his job.
They did not know how they were going to get back on track, Cadle said. “ When they learned we would be able to pay their sewage bill, they were so grateful. It is not unusual for people to break down in tears when we pay those bills for them.”
Founded in 1964 by four churches representing three different denominations, Inter Parish Ministry was originally run by a handful of volunteers intent on helping those in economic crisis. The nonprofit organization is now supported by more than 35 congregations representing many diverse denominations, according to Carol Rountree, coordinator of volunteers.
Rountree commends her 250 volunteers who gave over 12,000 hours of service in 2013. These volunteers, of all ages and backgrounds, helped by sorting donated clothing, shopping with clients in the food pantry, calling Bingo games and visiting residents of local nursing homes in the elder ministry.
Volunteers also manned the mobile food pantry as it set up at satellite locations in various churches. They adopted 350 families at Christmastime. They packed backpacks full of school supplies for the Back to School event.
“Nearly 24 percent of American families report having a time in the last year when they did not have enough money to buy the food their family needed,” says Chuck Swanson, pantry manager, quoting Pew/Princeton Research from 2013.
At the pantry, he has seen a marked increase in people needing help since Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits were cut in November. “We’ve seen an especially huge increase in seniors needing food,” he says.
The Inter Parish Ministry pantry is meant to be a stopgap for those times people find themselves struggling. Families are allowed to visit only once every 90 days. In addition, they can visit the mobile pantry once a month when it sets up at one of several local churches.
Swanson would like to see mobile pantry visits increased from the current 19. If Inter Parish could serve its clients on a regular monthly basis, then it would qualify for Ohio Agriculture Department distributions of surplus USDA meat and produce.
Finding funding is a constant effort carried out by staff. Business partners, member churches, individual donors, grants and fundraising events are all sources of income – as is the upcoming Jubilee Celebration Auction.
Beth Klaine, a retired Air Force colonel who served her country for 30 years as a nurse practitioner, is this year’s Jubilee Auction chair.
While sorting and folding donated clothing for the clothing pantry recently, she talked about her deep commitment to Inter Parish and about the time she has spent on the auction, now totaling a couple of hundred hours.
She is inspired by the work done following Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Miss. “In the aftermath, I saw firsthand the importance of faith-based (nongovernmental organizations),” she said. “I saw them in action and the way they made such a difference to us after all that destruction. I knew I wanted to get involved,” she said.
Her hope is the Jubilee Celebration Auction proceeds will help Inter Parish Ministry carry out its many missions for the coming year.