When an agency provides those in need with free services on which their quality of life and access to basic necessities depends, where the agency gets its funding from is crucial to its success.
Sumter United Ministries does just that for …
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Sumter United Ministries does just that for families and individuals in Sumter who need a boost out of an inherited situation or have fallen on unexpected hard times, and the funding they rely on is up to the community. That is the reason The Sumter Item holds its now sixth-annual Summer of Caring in the warmer months to raise funds for the nonprofit.
The organization does not receive funding from state or federal agencies and provides emergency shelter, has a food pantry, funds post-secondary tuition to single mothers, helps homeowners with emergency bill pay and even fixes construction issues with people's houses. Recently, Heath Sharrar, director of the construction ministry, shared an encounter with a woman who needed work done on her home.
"I told her we would be there in two weeks. Naturally, plans fall apart," Sharrar said. "I called her and explained that we wouldn't be able to work on her home as soon as I had hoped, and her response was so gracious."
When a church agreed to help do to the work, they showed up at her house to her waiting for them.
"Every day, she would leave to visit her husband who was in the hospital. However, before she left each morning, she would wait to say good morning and thank you," Sharrar said. "We would tear off shingles from her home and leave for the day, and then return the next morning to discover they had been collected and piled by the road."
Sharrar said the woman's experience is unfortunately like "so many others in Sumter."
"Homeowners just waiting for someone to get there. I look at my list of applications, each representing people with different stories and having one thing in common - they need someone to help," Sharrar said. "Is that you? I always tell them the same thing. I don't know when we will get to them, but we will get there as soon as we can.
"I have to trust that the people of Sumter will donate their time and resources to helping their neighbors."
Donations last week through Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, include:
Charlie Pitts, in honor of Jenny Jackson, $25; Charlie Pitts, in honor of Dr. Jessica Allinger, $25; and anonymously, $80.
Donations received this week: $130
Total donations received year to date: $2,360.16
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