(above) JCCM expects to serve over 1,800 clients in 2022. Volunteers fill many roles to assist the small staff of 11 (shown here, clockwise) : Keith Lowry (blue shirt), Jan Jordan, Greg Petersen, Annette Jones, Kari Dean, Bethany Troxel, Judy James.
It can be hard to get to a job or doctor’s office without transportation. Imagine the difficulty if you have no shoes. Keith Lowry, the Executive Director of Jefferson County Community Ministries, says requests for JCCM’s services are increasing dramatically this year: “We’ve had a 75 percent increase in the number of clients and a doubling of the volume of services we provide since June 2021. It’s coming from people who are laid-off, people who are self-employed and business is slow, rent demands [after the eviction moratorium ended], lots of different reasons.”
Interested in Helping?
JCCM Welcome All Types of Volunteers
JCCM can use help in many different types of volunteer roles. Ages 16+ can help behind the scenes with sorting food and clothing. Adult volunteers can help with things ranging from simply riding along with a staff person to take a client to a doctor visit to being trained to conduct intake interviews with potential clients. If you have skills to share with clients (budgeting, interviewing, etc.) JCCM can provide training for you to help clients directly. The cold weather shelter needs a volunteer to stay each night to provide backup to the on-site staff member.
Details on the web: JCCM.us/volunteer
Lowry describes the focus of JCCM as “trying to prevent homelessness. You may see a very small number of people on the street, but that’s not the typical client we serve. It’s families that need money to pay a utility bill, or gas money to get to work, small things that can trip people up [and lead to homelessness].” He continued, “A lot of what we do with our clients is solving a puzzle, identifying what the issues are and how we can help our clients fix them. It’s about holding hands to help clients find their path to stability.”
JCCM starts with intake interviews to gather that understanding. The range of services available include food assistance (which could be as specific as meeting special dietary needs), a clothing closet, skills programs to help clients navigate job interviews, personal relationships, budgeting and taxes, and health care coordination to connect clients with appropriate services. To assist with many aspects of these services, “we really rely on our volunteers,” Lowry emphasizes. “We have 80 now and I could use 160. There’s always a backlog of things to do.”
Jefferson County Community Ministries, 238 West Washington St, Charles Town WV. Web: JCCM.us. Email: Info@JCCM.us. Tel: 304-725-3186. Donations of cash, food & clothing accepted (visit website for drop-off times & donation options).By Staff Contributor