Agency assisted thousands last year

Published 9:15 am Monday, March 11, 2013

Half of those used mission for first time


Those with roofs over their heads, food in their stomachs and warm clothes on their bodies can sometimes take for granted all they have.But the City Welfare Mission in Ironton provides the community the opportunity to help those who are not able to forget just how much those things matter.

The mission operates a homeless shelter five nights a week, gives out clothes twice a month, serves lunch five days a week and helps pay rent and utilities for some. In 2012, more than 5,800 families and 3,000 homeless persons received assistance through the organization.

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The Rev. Jeff Cremeans, mission director, said everything is accomplished with four staff members and a dedicated group of volunteers. He said they do everything from picking up and sorting clothes to cooking and serving meals.

“A lot of our volunteers are faithful people who share our vision of helping others,” Cremeans said. “They have the time and the will to come out and we are appreciative of that. We don’t have a large staff, so the volunteers are invaluable.”

Cremeans said all services offered through the mission are free, and only made possible by those who selflessly give their time, energy and resources to give back to the community. He said the mission has depended on the community for support since 1944 and has never been disappointed.

The Monday to Friday lunch is served at 11 a.m. and is open to anyone who is hungry, Cremeans said. The mission’s clothing drive takes place the second and fourth Wednesday’s of each month from 8:45 a.m. to noon. The 20-bed night shelter is open until 8 a.m.

Cremeans said clothes and food are offered to anyone in need, but other services are limited to residents of Lawrence County.

The following assistance was given in 2012:

Food orders to 1,564 families, utilities for 178 families, rent paid for 17 families, medical and other assistance for 44 families, used and new clothes for 2,525 families, 29 prescriptions filled, furniture for 241 families, burn outs for two families, two bus tickets, 948 Thanksgiving meals, Christmas toys for 1,587 children, Christmas food baskets to 760 families, transient automobile assistance for 31 families, lodging for 3,264 homeless persons, 17,676 meals served in mission, summer youth program for 31 children and 1,070 pick-ups by mission truck.

A total of 5,852 local families with 8,054 adults and 7,921 children as well as 3,360 homeless persons were given assistance.

Cremeans said the mission expects roughly the same numbers to continue throughout 2013.

“We don’t see the economy getting better anytime soon,” Cremeans said. “We wish for it, but we don’t foresee it. A lot of our folks, especially when it comes to food, are first-time people who have never used our services. About 50 percent of our people in 2012 were first timers.”

No matter what, the mission is ready to serve, Cremeans said. He added he is forever grateful to the volunteers who continue to serve and keep the mission performing its mission.