WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) – Leaders of a new initiative backed by churches and civic groups are asking Columbus County Commissioners to help fund their efforts to lift people out of poverty.
Circles of Hope is a national organization with a newly formed chapter in Columbus County.
The program helps move people from poverty to self sufficiency by pairing participants with volunteer allies, explained Carolyn Hankins, coordinator of Circles of Hope Columbus County.
"Organizations that try and help those people right now, tell them what to do. The guidelines are set for them, but they don't always work for them," Hankins said. "Circles empowers those families to set their own goals, realize their own dreams."
Circles volunteer David Scott asked county commissioners Monday night for $20,000 in seed money to help fund the initiative. He said $27,000 of the initial $70,000 budget has already been raised. Expenses include weekly meals for participants, child care, transportation, insurance and administrative costs.
After meeting its first-year budget, the group plans to hire two part-time employees, David said.
He explained Circles is a positive investment for the county – one that would reduce burdens on the welfare system and lead to better career options and more access to preventable health care.
County commissioners took no action on the issue Monday. Chair Edwin Russ said the board would consider the request.
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