Non-profit eyes expansion as number of families in need grows
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A non-profit dedicated to helping families in need pay utility bills, buy groceries and holiday gifts wants to add more hours of operation and set up a new location in Leland to keep up with the demand.
"We are already providing such a high volume of services for people in this area and we know once we open an office five days a week, that's only going to increase," Stephanie Bowens, executive director of Brunswick Family Assistance, said. "We need the financial support."
Bowens asked Brunswick County commissioners to add $25,000 to their 2018 fee-for-service agreement with the non-profit. Bowens said the additional money would allow them to move out of their location in the Leland Park Community Center and keep their doors open Monday through Friday.
"(Families in need) know if they don't get here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are going to have to make that drive to Shallotte (the non-profit's main location), which may not be possible for them," Bowens explained. "We know if people don't have money for utilities or food, it's going to be tough for them to get gas money or transportation money to Shallotte."
Beth Lewis has seen the Leland location's popularity rise dramatically since she started working as a part-time intake officer.
"They know about the time I show up," Lewis explained. "I had a room full when I came in and that's pretty much every Tuesday and Thursday when I'm here."
Lewis is on board with extended hours and a new location if it means families in need have easier access to services.
"When you are in need, there is a big gap between Tuesday and Thursday and there is an even bigger gap between Thursday and Tuesday," Lewis said. "They are asking for help. That's not an easy thing to do and that's got to be respected."
Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.