OUR THURSDAY MINISTRIES
One of the hidden costs of poverty is the loss of time and cost of transportation required to travel from one service to another, then to wait in line, and then to often be told that more paperwork is needed, requiring another difficult visit. This is especially true for people with mobility issues, many of whom are barely surviving on disability. By providing a suite of necessary services at the same time every Thursday morning, GAP allows people to make better use of their time, to be a part of a caring community, and to be able to get support to live better or find their way out of poverty.
GAP serves an average of 105 clients each week who are provided with canned goods, fresh breads and produce, frozen meat, and hygiene products each Thursday from 10:30AM-1PM. The stock comes from Golden Harvest Food Bank and from donations from churches, individuals, and Fresh Market. Persons with no place to cook receive a “walking bag” with a nourishing lunch. As an act of hospitality clients may shop from the shelves for foods they enjoy.
Gap's oldest ministry is providing snacks for youth attending counseling and education sessions at the Department of Juvenile Justice. This simple hospitality helps encourage the youth to be more receptive to their training.
GAP has registered nurses and licensed pharmacists who volunteer each week to assist an average of 40mclients per week who need obtaining non-narcotic prescriptions. The nurses also provide counseling for people with chronic illnesses, especially diabetes, with a goal of encouraging long term healthy management of the condition. Over the counter medications are also supplied on an as needed basis.
Without a photo ID, a person cannot find work, apply for housing or social assistance, visit a relative in jail, vote, or even get into some shelters. GAP volunteers transport clients to the Department of Driver's Services each Thursday to obtain photo ID's, and pay their fees. An average of 12 clients per month are provided with a photo ID.
To obtain a photo ID or social security card, a birth certificate is needed. Childen may not attend school or get medical help without a birth certificate. Obtaining a birth certificate without an ID requires ingenuity and persistence and the ability to navigate bureaucracy. GAP assists in completing and mailing the applications to the state where the client was born, and absorbs the fees. GAP helps to obtain about 8 birth certificates each month.
Many clients struggle to stay warm in the winter. They walk the streets in worn out shoes. They need decent clothes for job interviews and to wear to church. The clothes closet provides a good quality used clothes, shoes, sock and accessories form which people can pick.
Parents struggling to make ends meet find that diapers are not covered by Food Stamps or other assistance programs. Without funds to buy in quantity, they may pay several times per diaper more than affluent parents, often choosing between needed food and a dry baby and GAP buys diapers at a discount, and sells a week’s worth for $1.00.
Many of GAP’s clients are living on the street or in shelters, and others are insecurely housed. They are couch surfing or sharing space where they have no secure storage. Some even discard their winter clothes in the spring because they are unable to carry them around. GAP provides 27 gallon bins in a secured area for people to keep their possessions and important documents.
PARTNERS IN MISSION
Many other agencies work with GAP to provide assistance to those in need. Click here to see our partners.