Helping Hands Nonprofit Needing Helping Hands
Though the "season of giving" is over, the Dallas-based organization continues to need donations and manpower to continue its community services.
Persistently high unemployment rates and cold weather heating needs consuming disposable incomes mean the work of Helping Hands of Paulding County in Dallas is more important than ever.
“People still don’t have jobs, and a lot of people have jobs but are short on hours,” said Helping Hands Administrator Andrea Watson.
Helping Hands helps with utility, housing and other expenses as donations allow, but its primary service is providing food to those in need at its location near Dallas Elementary School.
Food donations before Christmas this year were especially plentiful. “I’ve never seen such generosity,” Watson said. “We were even able to provide turkey and Christmas dinners, and we are so thankful for that.
“People brought in coats and toys, and several organizations provided Christmas for families without little children. That was a blessing.”
Unfortunately, said Watson, Helping Hands lacks sufficient funding to help those in need with ongoing housing costs, utilities and maintenance medications. The federal Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing program serves only people who are employed or about to be evicted. Recipients of that aid “have to have work skills. If their hours have been cut, that’s where the program comes in.
“We help with emergency medications” but are unable to provide maintenance medicines, she said.
“We’re always in need of food; people have to eat,” Watson added. “We get what we can from the food bank, but usually that comes with restrictions.”
A list of food supplies needed most is posted at helpinghandspauldingga.org
In addition to financial contributions and food donations, the nondenominational Christian ministry also needs volunteers to serve as case workers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, pick up food donations from local stores, work in the food pantry, raise money, answer the phone and help in other ways.
Volunteers are especially needed during flu season, which reduces the ministry’s manpower.
A number of local churches help support the nonprofit ministry through food and financial donations, as well as supplying volunteers.
Watson said volunteers are needed to assist Helping Hands clients with online forms asking pharmaceutical companies for free or reduced-cost medicines, a new program Helping Hands wants to undertake because no one else is doing it locally.
With little space at its current location at 240 Professional Court, the ministry does not offer clothing but refers anyone needing that service to several thrift stores.
But space might not be a problem much longer.
“We hope to be moving into a new building very soon,” Watson said. The new building “leased to us for practically nothing” is bigger and is located near the former courthouse in downtown Dallas, she said. It has a bay door for receiving donations, and service delivery can be more spread out.
“But our overhead will increase with a bigger building,” she added. “We need financial help.”
Volunteers, potential donors or those in need of Helping Hands’ services can call 770-443-1230.