CAN Help forming ‘Faith In Action’ coalition

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Mar. 25, 2007 - More than 30 representatives from area churches were on hand Thursday for the kickoff of Faith In Action, the first meeting to begin developing the coalition.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Ginger Maynard (right) and Faith in Action mentor Bill Northcutt (2nd from right) speak to more than 30 pastors, lay people and others who attended the 1st Faith in Action meeting.

The coalition falls under the Hopkins County Community Action Network Help (CAN Help) umbrella, which is the parent organization for different ministries such as 2-1-1 Texas, charitable clinic and Children in the Middle.

Faith In Action is being headed by Ginger Maynard, with Bill Northcutt as mentor. The program officials explained that the purpose of FIA is to help coordinate and better utilize ministries, while developing and identifying other areas of need in the community.

By utilizing CAN Help, each ministry can gauge its impact through calls to CAN Help, as well as get referrals. Faith in Action can also use the CAN Help resources to train and screen volunteers. They can help coordinate and schedule activities and services, verify needs, and coordinate among various churches, ministries and agencies so that their services are best utilized and not abused.

Whether it’s organizing one large fundraiser for a sick person instead of several smaller ones, coordinating clothing ministries, finding and making services available to the elderly or those in need, or simply finding someone to listen when there’s no one else in a family, Faith In Action’s goal is to help put the right people together.

Faith in Action can also help secure resources for projects, follow up with clients, maintain records and provide liability insurance for volunteers serving under the FIA. It can help refer "frequent fliers” to resources to solve their “real problem,” such as getting a GED, child care assistance, finding work, or whatever the need is that’s “preventing independence.”

�Basically, we are going to help you organize your ministry so we can all better utilize our resources. It is through 211 that we have identified many unmet, legitimate needs. ... This leads us to the mission field in which we live,� Maynard said.

Faith in Action is a national program but in the beginning stages of start-up  in Hopkins County thanks to a grant. However, more volunteers, funding and donations are needed to make the program a success. The outreach is designed to pick up where other programs leave off, particularly for those who don't qualify for services but can't afford the cost, and those with needs for which there are no services in this area.

Faith in Action volunteers could perform a wide variety of tasks ranging from changing a disabled person's light bulbs or fixing meals for the elderly, helping someone in a wheelchair get their home remodeled so that it is more accessible. to simply visiting with people or reading to them.

Faith In Action volunteers need not have any special skills, as they will attend a special training class to teach what they need. Criminal background checks will be conducted on all Faith In Action Volunteers.

For more information about Faith In Action, contact Ginger Maynard at the CAN Help building, 525 Church St., 903-885-9797 or dial 2-1-1.

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