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HELPLINE: Program to reorganize with community in mind

August 21, 2012

Post and Mail photo / Christie Barkley Meggan Hoag stands among the many mattresses and box springs ready to go out to families in need through the Helpline of Whitley County.

COLUMBIA CITY — The Helpline of Whitley County has been housed on the Columbia City United Methodist Church grounds for several years, but at the moment the doors are closed.
According to Vice President, Meggan Hoag, the organization is going through a revamping phase.
“Originally, we had different volunteers take care of donations and giving out items to people who need them,” said Hoag. “That made it hard to have any consistency.”
When Helpline reopens its doors, a new partnership will have formed to help the program better serve the area.
“We will be working with Pat Mossburg and the Salvation Army of Whitley County,” said Hoag.
Helpline of Whitley County offers furniture items to families in need.
Hoag said, “We want to help those who can’t get beds for their kids or who are just getting back on their feet.”
In the past, Hoag said they worked with clients from other programs such as The Lighthouse and the county corrections department.
Items the Helpline gives out range from beds to couches and even dressers.
“There have been people who needed items and when they find out we have other things they would want those too,” Hoag said. “It’s hard to know who is really in need and who is just trying to redecorate.”
Cue the Salvation Army. Because Mossburg, who serves as the ministries specialist for Whitley County, has developed certain checks and balances to ensure clients live in Whitley County and have a need. The Helpline will utilize that model by way of Mossburg and the Salvation Army.
“She has a voucher system that works and we tap into the same people in need. It just makes sense to have a system in place that gives the clients what they need, but also protects Helpline,” said Hoag.
One of the ways Helpline is partnering with the Salvation Army is in a bed give-away.
Helpline acquired 100 box springs and mattresses from the Super 8 Hotel in Columbia City.
The hotel recently under went a remodel where beds were replaced.
Hoag said she happened to see all the beds coming out of the hotel and made contact with the hotel manager to get the beds.
Now, although the Helpline is currently closed for reorganization, Hoag and other volunteers are distributing the beds until the end of the month.
There will be a limit of two beds per family, but for anyone interested, a visit to see Mossburg at the Salvation Army office is necessary.
At the visit, Mossburg will issue a voucher for the bed once she has seen a current ID, some sort of bill that shows proof of the clients address and a current pay stub to show income.
Vouchers can only be obtained through the Salvation Army office. No beds will be given without a voucher.
Hoag said there are still plenty of beds to give out. The storage facility used to house the items Helpline gives out is packed with mattresses and box springs.
“We want to help as many people as we can,” said Hoag.
“The need is so great in our area. By taking time to reorganize we will be able to help more people.”
Hoag also hopes by partnering with the Salvation Army on projects similar to the bed give-away, Helpline will make its services more known in the community.
To contact the Salvation Army, call 248-1711. The Salvation Army is located at 1200 W. Depoy Dr. in the First Church of God.
Helpline is located on the grounds of the Columbia City United Methodist Church, 605 N. Forest Pkwy., Columbia City.

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