Hundreds brave cold to get ODJFS clothes vouchers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cold weather did not stop from families from going camping - but they were not out in the forest.

A line began forming early Wednesday evening outside the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services as hundreds of people waited to receive some holiday assistance.

Those lined up hoped to be the first folks through the doors to take advantage of month-long program that will provide clothes to needy families.

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&#8220Clothes for Kids” is the brainchild of ODJFS employees, who recently agreed to take federal incentives money and use it for children. The program will provide needy Lawrence County families with $250 per child, or a maximum of $500 per family.

ODJFS director Buddy Martin said the response thus far has exceeded even his expectations.

&#8220We served 115 people in the first hour and 15 minutes after we opened,” he said. &#8220I got here at 6 o'clock this morning and I had to park two blocks away. And there are still people lined up for blocks.

&#8220We're processing them as fast as we can. We thought we had a pretty good set up but not for this volume of people. We didn't expect quite this many on the first day.”

County resident Jennifer Busick had been in line for hours and was running out of patience.

&#8220I talked to the receptionist, she said they were expecting a huge amount of people Thursday.

They may have been expecting a huge amount of people but they sure did not prepare for it,” Busick said.

To be eligible, the family's income level must be 150 percent of the poverty level or less. For a family of three, that equates to $2,012 monthly, or $2,420 monthly for a family of four. They do not have to be on public assistance to receive the clothing allowance.

The program runs through the month of December only.This is the first time the DJFS has had such a program. The office receives federal incentives money for meeting goals for certain federally funded programs it administers.

With people lined up hours before office doors opened, both Ironton police officers and Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies were on hand.

&#8220We're there to direct traffic and help with any problems that may arise,” Ironton Police Department Acting Chief Chris Bowman said. &#8220I think this is a great thing they're doing and we're behind it 100 percent. This is a very generous offer.”