By Brian Besch
The Center of Hope has announced a change in a few procedures that will add to the list of services they provide for the citizens of Polk County.
Currently, the Polk County Emergency Health Board (PCEHB) provides funds for medical needs when other resources are unavailable. With many of the same customers also using services at the Center of Hope, they will now be under one roof. Taking over the ministry, a few volunteers from PCEHB will make the move with the service to the center. Some of the cancer support staff at Center of Hope will also cross train to help.
“The Polk County Emergency Health Board, led by Ms. Peggy Wooten, has done a wonderful job for years serving low-income families in Polk County with assistance on prescriptions and low-cost medical supplies,” said Mike Fortney, Ministry Coordinator at Center of Hope.
PCEHB leadership approached the center about taking over the service. Center of Hope’s board agreed to do so, and has set the change over to the new Center of Hope Emergency Health Ministry on the first day of October.
The program provides low-income Polk County citizens needing crisis help with prescriptions or small medical supplies. They may call to arrange an interview with a trained caseworker. Center of Hope caseworkers will coordinate with clients and several participating local pharmacies to assist with payments. Polk County residents needing this crisis help can dial the Center of Hope at 936-327-7634.
The center offers several other ministries to the public. The food pantry is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3:30 p.m. and the third Saturday morning of each month. Center of Hope offers a food selection-style pantry where families shop for foods. Food selection is large and healthy food options are most often available.
The cancer support ministry has appointments available every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3:30 p.m. The ministry helps Polk County cancer patients with travel-related costs associated with treatment.
Campaign 300 is a financial assistance ministry that helps low-income Polk County families financially when a crisis strikes and there is an inability to cover bills.
The bus ministry provides transportation to the center at 600 South Washington in Livingston during operating hours, so clients can receive food and other services.
Disaster response and recovery was highlighted during the disasters of the tornado in Onalaska and Seven Oaks, as well as recent floods in the area. Center of Hope serves as the county’s private donation hub with water, food, supplies and cash donations following a disaster. In the past, the center has helped many families repair homes after a disaster.
“It will all be in one building,” Center of Hope Director of Operations Gloria Barber said. “From the beginning, the plan for Center of Hope was to bring a lot of ministries into one building, so people could do one-stop shopping.”
There are several ways to contribute for those who wish to support Center of Hope in their mission. Representatives said the current post-Covid financial crisis has hit Polk County families hard, and the numbers of those in need have skyrocketed. At the same time, the center, just as everyone else, is now paying more for food.
Food drives at schools and businesses are welcomed, as well as individual food donations. They especially need canned goods, non-perishables and breakfast items. As their buying power has decreased in recent months, financial donations are welcomed. Monetary donations will allow funds for increasingly needed foods.
The center is an all-volunteer mission with no paid employees. Those wanting to plug into a place where God is working are asked to call, and there will be a place for you.