Groups work to aid those in need

This time of year, when it seems like each week brings another home fire or other tragic accident, Kingman area charities and churches have their proverbial hands full trying to help those in need.

Victims of such disasters often lose everything, from pantries full of food to the pots, pans and utensils needed to cook, if they even still have a home and a stove. Luckily, there are organizations in the city to address these great needs.

The first place a victim might turn is to Sarah's House, a local child and family advocate center. Director Sheila King staffs the center with volunteer victim advocates who are often called in to accident scenes by law enforcement. In the past, Sarah's House has been involved in helping traffic accident victims find shelter for the night or travel to hospitals where loved ones have been airlifted. King said her organization will do what it can to help victims, but, like any charitable service, the funds available for such assistance are not limitless.

The Kingman Area Food Bank runs an emergency food box program, as does Cornerstone Mission and the Salvation Army. Each service requires certain verification of income, identification or emergency status and allows a finite number of boxes to each individual or family within specific timeframes.

For example, individuals applying to the Kingman Area Food Bank may be eligible for up to four food boxes per year, but those requests must be at least 30 days apart. However, the program also offers grocery bags, when available, full of produce and bread.

Another organization, St. Vincent de Paul, provides assistance to disaster victims, individuals who have somehow become stranded in the city and others. Paulette Dollarhide, district president, said, "If there is a need, we will step forth in full faith and charity and give. No act of charity is unknown to St. Vincent de Paul."

The organization operates a thrift store downtown, and proceeds from the store are used to help people whose utilities have been disconnected due to nonpayment and to assist with procuring medical prescriptions. In addition, those demonstrating financial need are eligible to receive three complete sets of clothing, as well as basic foods and other necessities, such as diapers for children.

Dollarhide said Smith's grocery store helps to provide nonperishable items, and she said, "If someone is unemployed, we'll go until the cupboard is bare and then we'll buy some more. As long as we're providing a hand up, we are there if it's two months or if it's six months."

Cornerstone Mission, a local homeless men's shelter, also provides clothing to those in need, along with showers and hot meals. According to Patricia Vicker, administrative assistant, shelter residents are eligible for two sets of clothes twice per week, while visitors may receive two sets of clothes once a week. Clothing includes shirts, pants, shoes and other items.

The shelter provides hot meals each day from 4 to 6 p.m., with food items ranging from fried chicken to meatloaf, salads, fruit and dessert.

Visitors may also use shelter showers, and they are given shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other toiletries.

The Salvation Army offers individuals six to 12 food boxes per year, as well as special boxes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The organization requires financial or emergency verification, including Red Cross or fire department confirmation if the emergency was a home fire. In those cases, victims may be eligible for clothing and emergency food boxes which contain several days worth of staples, such as vegetables, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, bread and powdered milk.

Social Services Director Pam Kurgan said that once victims transition into a new home, the Salvation Army provides household items, such as pots, pans and utensils, as well as furniture when it is available. The organization partners with St. Vincent de Paul for such items. Bed linens and towels are also available.

Other individuals may receive clothing twice yearly, including three tops and bottoms, a pair of shoes, one jacket if it is winter and other items. Kurgan said utility assistance is available in extraordinary circumstances, with vouchers issued for gas and electric service payments. Recipients are eligible once every 13 months.

An organization comprised entirely of area volunteers also does good work throughout the city. The Angel Network, headed by Diana Manning, has provided bus tickets home to people living on the streets after becoming stranded in town, and volunteers provide clothing and other necessities to families. Focusing on children, the Angel Network helps families by providing back-to-school items and Christmas gifts.

The organization requires that at least one member of the family is working, and it requests that assisted families are not listed with any other charitable organization. Manning also asks that individuals who have been helped by the network return to become an "Angel" themselves for one year.

Churches are another important resource for needy families in Kingman, and Manzanita Baptist is one church that tries to provide help when a tragedy strikes.

Terri Olson, office manager, said when someone in the church learns of such an event, the news is distributed to the "church family" by e-mail and bulletin describing the needs and asking that those who are able to contribute something provide what they can. She said often the donations include clothing, plates, cash and grocery gift cards.

If any other organizations in Kingman offer these or other services to accident victims, needy families or the homeless, contact the Miner at 753-6397 to include them in future issues.