Local organization that helps the needy, now needs help - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Local organization that helps the needy, now needs help

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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) -

People who go to church on Sunday are used to hearing a challenging message from the pastor in the pulpit, but Tuesday in Concord it was the pastors who heard the challenge.

A local organization that helps the needy is in need itself. 

Cooperative Christian Ministries says it's being stretched thin by the growing needs of food and shelter in Cabarrus and southern Rowan Counties.

Out of work and disabled, Sherry's Ridenhour's plight is not that unusual...

"I mean some days I don't know how I'm going to eat," Ridenhour told WBTV.   "I come and get food or like today I need medicine, I need my diabetes medicine and they'll probably help me get it."

In a county where unemployment is at its highest rate in 20 years, Cooperative Christian Ministries provides groceries, in a county where on average there are 4.4 home foreclosures per day, CCM is providing shelter.

But right now, it's not enough.

"A teenage girl and her mother who are having to sleep in a car," Director Ed Hosack said.   "Imagine a teenage girl having to prepare herself for school in a convenience store restroom and then going to school and trying to hide that from her friends."

Hosack is the director of CCM.  He came to CCM  when he lost his job at Pillowtex ten years ago.  But today he was challenging pastors from churches in Cabarrus and southern Rowan to partner with CCM to meet the growing need.

"Friends, it's not a sin to be in need, but I do believe it's a sin to see the need and have the ability to do something and do nothing," Dr. Rick Ross of Concord First Assembly noted.
 
Why are the needs so great?

The area hasn't completely recovered from the Pillowtex closure, that was 4600 local jobs gone in one day, but in a way, it happened again eight years later.

"The net effect from job loss from 2008 to 2010, the number of jobs lost in that period was equivalent, actually slightly larger, than the one time job loss at Pillowtex," Hosack added.  "We continue to set records every month in our food pantries.  The need for supplementing family budgets and provide food to feed children and feed seniors is tremendous."

There may be fewer smokestacks, but there are plenty of steeples.  CCM partners with about one hundred churches now, but there are more than 300 in the area.  The meeting this morning was about recruiting partners, putting aside denominational differences and working for a common goal.

"Unless we come together and accomplish something as a unique group of people, we'll never accomplish what God wants us to accomplish in this area," Ross added

And without it, many say they wouldn't know where to turn.

"I don't know what I would do.  If it wasn't here I wouldn't know how I would make it, some days I just don't know what I would do," added Sherry Ridenhour.

Between the four food pantries and mobile food sites, CCM gives out more than one million pounds of food per year.  It also operates a daily soup kitchen, homeless shelters, and a job training center.

To volunteer or donate to CCM, contact the office at 246 Country Club Drive in Concord.  The number is 704-786-4709.

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