By MELINDA J. OVERSTREET
Glasgow Daily Times
A local organization that helps income-eligible Barren Countians who are struggling financially is settling into its new location.
Community Relief Fund’s board of directors decided last fall to take advantage of an opportunity available through Columbia Avenue Church of Christ, which owns the nearby former E.B. Terry Elementary School, where the church’s benevolence programs are housed.
CRF opened Jan. 13 in a different portion of the old school building. The address is 317 Columbia Ave., Suite A, and signage along the driveway directs visitors to the right spot.
A single step up into the doorway is much easier to navigate than the stairs down to the former office at 123 E. Washington St., and the organization plans to make the entrance completely handicapped-accessible. More parking is also available.
Volunteers spent weeks sprucing up and customizing the space before the move was made, said the Rev. Mike Padgett, chairman of the board of directors.
One of the two large rooms in the suite now has a small waiting area partitioned off with a plywood wall that doesn’t quite reach the ceiling. The partial wall has a window with a document pass-through and a separate spot through which bags of food from the pantry can be passed. It was built by David Stephens, husband of administrative coordinator Tonnya Stephens.
The rest of the room has space for two desks, multiple filing cabinets and a table that can serve as another work area. The other room – the pantry – has shelves that were custom built to hold food that the organization distributes.
Some labor was donated by community members, Padgett said, giving credit to fellow board member the Rev. Freddie Norris, for coordinating that work.
“It’s really been cool to see the people willing to help,” he said. “Where it was a month ago and where it is now is just fantastic.”
The new location has virtually no overhead, as the church covers the utilities and has leased the space at $1 per year. One full-time and one part-time employee – “and all the volunteers we can get” – keep the office unning, Padgett said.
On Wednesday, the Rev. Oliver Hofmann, teaching elder at First Presbyterian Church and a CRF board member, dropped by with a few members of his Christian Outreach Committee. They brought with them a monetary donation raised at its recent Souper Bowl event, along with several containers of food.
Theresa Nelson, chair of the outreach committee, remembers when CRF started as a table and chair in an upstairs hallway of First Presbyterian Church at least two decades ago, with a little file box as the records system.
“Look where you are now,” she said.
Hofmann said he was pleased with the organization’s latest home.
“It’s brighter and more inviting,” he said. “It greatly increases the efficiency with which the staff and volunteers can work.”
Padgett said an added benefit of the move is that it inspired them to get rid of unused items and narrow files considerably. After a bit more culling, the next step will be to scan all the records onto a computer, he said.
A few things still remain at the Washington Street space, and CRF will need to figure out what to do with those, because it is looking for a tenant for the office.
CRF became the owner of that building at the intersection with South Broadway Street when it was donated by Junior Achievement several years ago, Padgett said in an earlier Daily Times report.
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