ABCCM Crisis Ministry
24 Cumberland Ave.
Asheville NC 28801
Contact : Sheryl Olsen
(828) 259-5300 Ext 330
I chose the ABCCM Crisis Ministry as my community awareness project after contacting and speaking with Sheryl about the need they have at the ministry for volunteers. ABCCM was founded in 1969 by members of eight Buncombe County Churches. The crisis ministry is one of five ministries that ABCCM has to offer to individuals in need. The crisis ministry operates to provide not just food and clothing but also financial assistance for rent, mortgages, utilities, fuel and medications. They rely mainly on donations to help run the center and receive the majority of their donations from churches and individuals. I was interested in volunteering for the cause, so I recruited my two sons, ages 16 and 18. I wanted them to share in this memorable experience as well.
We arrived at the center on Wednesday morning Dec. 23, 2009 at 8:30 am. Once there we filled out a volunteer registration form. After being introduced to some of the other volunteers we were then asked if we would like to join the staff and other volunteers for a daily devotional. This is a daily practice that they start their days with that last about 3-4 minutes. We were then taken to the soup kitchen to help prepare the food for the meal they would be serving that day. My job was to help prepare ham salad sandwiches. The days menu consisted of soup and sandwiches, meatballs, vegetable soup, salad, and a variety of desserts. Coffee, lemonade and apple juice were the beverages offered with their meal. Everyday they open the kitchen to anyone in need between the hours of 11-3. They have a small kitchen so space is limited. They usually let about 7 at a time come in from the lobby to eat. Their meals are not rushed and they are not limited to the amount of food they can have. Once their meal is completed and they exit, someone else comes in to eat.
We also volunteered in the clothing room. Upon entering the room we noticed about 20 large bags of clothing that need to be unpacked and hung on the clothing racks. We were later joined by some other volunteers and it didn’t take long to have all the clothing put on hangers, separated and hung on clothing racks in the room. Everyone that comes in talks with a counselor that fills out a check list of items that they need. Then the individuals can go back to the room and go through the clothes and pick out the clothing they want. One thing I noticed is that they have a lot more womens clothing than mens. They are in need of mens clothing, especially jeans and winter clothing.
In these difficult economic times there are a lot of people needing help right now. We heard stories of people losing their jobs, some due to cutbacks and some to illnesses. We became more aware of people that are working but just having a tough time making ends meet and can’t afford food. Some people had a place to live but couldn’t afford to pay for electricity.
We never know what the future holds for us. Some of us are more fortunate than others and we truly have a lot to be thankful for. I am glad to know that ABCCM is there for our community.