From Mingo County Commission: important funding and strong words of praise and support

18 Aug

I wish you, our Christian Help friends and supporters, could have been present at the regular meeting of the Mingo County Commission this morning, in Williamson, WV, our county seat.  I’d asked to be on the agenda of that meeting, to request funding from the Commission for Christian Help’s Transit Program. 

As I explained to the Commissioners, the Transit Program is funded by significant grants from the Logan Healthcare Foundation and the WV Division of Public Transit.  Once those funds are depleted, we budget to spend some of our private donations to finish out the year.  A harsh winter combined with a very high increase in electricity rates led to an onslaught in requests for help with utility bills throughout the spring.  (In April 2009, we spent around $4,000 in help with utility bills.  In April 2010, we spent over $14,000.) 

So some of the money that we’d earmarked for transit was spent on financial aid.  I requested $3,000 from the Commission to help fund the Transit during the final months of the year. 

The next part is where I’d have liked you to have been present.  The County Commissioners could not say enough good things about Christian Help over the next few minutes.  In particular, they commented several times on the extraordinary service that our agency offered to people during the difficult winter.  They were aware of the troubles caused by the spike in electricity rates, and they commented that many people were unable to find much relief at all from government agencies designed for this purpose. 

“Christian Help really stepped up to help out a whole lot of people in our county during that hard time,” said Commissioner Smith.  “They’re to be commended.”

Following this encouraging discussion, the Commissioners chose to give Christian Help $5,000 ($2,000 more than I had requested!) in funding for Transit. 

The Commission’s grants administrator and emergency management official, both of whom were sitting nearby and who attend each meeting, both expressed to me how unusual that is.  It’s far more common that an organization might get less than they’d requested, and only after the Commissioners had “made ’em sweat” through some questioning.

Clearly, the County Commissioners hold Christian Help of Mingo County in high regard.  I was moved and humbled by it this morning, and wanted very much to share it with you.

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