Rock Hill community center, ‘one-stop shop’ for those in crisis, fights to stay open during COVID-19

Rock Hill community center struggled to keep up with need for help

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - As the pandemic continues, people are still losing their jobs, businesses are closing and people are dying from the virus.

The Associated Press says millions of Americans are visiting food banks for the first time. In the Rock Hill and York County community there is a one stop shop for people needing help from homelessness to a hot meal, but COVID-19 almost closed its doors as the need in the community grew seemingly overnight.

One center fought to stay open and continue its mission.

”Everybody that comes here has a need to come,” says Lisa Galloway, who is staying at the women’s center.

From the street, Pathways Community Center probably looks like a bunch of old buildings, but to Lisa Galloway, it is home.

”It’s a place you can come. It’s warmth when it’s cold. It’s cool when it’s hot. It’s nice. It’s a blessing,” says Galloway.

COVID-19 hit Galloway hard. She ended up homeless. Her disability literally handicapping her job search.

”Talk to me a little bit about where you might be if there wasn’t a place like this for you,” WBTV asked.

”Oh, I have no idea,” says Galloway. “I’m just glad I don’t have to think about it knowing that it’s here.”

Pathways was almost not here though. Director Grace Lewis says the same pandemic that doubled the need in the community almost closed the center.

”We can’t turn our people out on the street. And they were scared too. They don’t want to catch COVID. They’re homeless. They’re out on the street who was taking care of them? So we were committed to stay open,” says Lewis.

Staying open meant warm homemade meals and clothes on their back every night. A task that was not always easy to keep up.

”It was a little scary,” says Lewis. “I sat here at my desk many a day and said ‘can we meet the need because here they come?’”

There was hope. The community the center helps turned around to help them. Lewis says churches and other organizations stepped up to get them the new necessities like masks and cleaning products. So, her team could worry less about staying opening during COVID-19 and focus more on their mission to help people like Galloway.

”When you’re in crisis, you don’t think let me go on the web and do a search and all that,” Lewis. “You’re in crisis. To be able to say just go to Pathways is life-saving for some people.”

”You have to count your blessings where they’re at because where would you be without it?” says Galloway.

Pathways does not just help people who are homeless. They also help domestic violence victims, substance abuse victims, job seekers, mental health and much more. Anyone who needs help comes to Pathways and is connected with a case manager. That person plugs them in with the right organization to help.

Pathways mission from its website: Our Mission is to be the single point of entry facility, housing service agencies, that together stand ready to serve people in our community.

Pathways takes donations. Whether it is food, cleaning and office supplies or money, Pathways is ready to accept. If you would like to donate, you can do it here.

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