Forsyth County Organization Celebrates 40 Years of Helping People in Crisis Situations
A Forsyth County non-profit is celebrating 40 years of service to the community on Thursday, April 4. Crisis Control Ministry is finding new ways to meet the growing need for financial and medication assistance to those in need.
In 1973, Crisis Control Ministry founder Rev. Ron Rice saw a pattern that troubled him: people forced to go from church to church asking for help to meet their basic needs. So Rice and a group of other ministers opened Crisis Control, a central place where people could go for help. Rice died in 1990, but the organization he started is thriving:
("Our biggest accomplishment is probably that we're still here and providing the same services," said Margaret Elliott, executive director of Crisis Control Ministry. She says that a crisis can happen to anyone, anytime.
“We have served hundreds of thousands of people over the years. We average about 20,000 people a year who come down to crisis control for assistance. This year, that is about one in 20 people in Forsyth County, says Elliott.
Elliott added, “We take about 30 minutes with each person for an interview to determine what the crisis is. It is about what happened this month to make it so you can’t pay your rent bill, mortgage bill, groceries or prescription medication.”
Avis, who asked that her last name be withheld, sought help from Crisis Control when she needed surgery last year. On her part-time nurse's aide salary, she couldn't afford health insurance, and she was worried.
“I knew I had to be out six to eight weeks and I knew I wouldn’t have income, so that’s why I went to Crisis Control. During that time, I spoke with a person Ms. Adkins, who was very soft spoken and understanding. She paid two months of my mortgage and I was able to focus on my healing process after that,” says Avis, a recipient of services.
Avis is also getting some help with her medications through the Crisis Control pharmacy. As the first state licensed free pharmacy in the state, it fills more than 3,000 prescriptions a month.
The center also has a food pantry that looks like a miniature grocery store with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats donated by local businesses.
Elliott says such community partnerships have been key to their success over the past 40 years. Crisis Control Ministry is run by volunteers, and most of its $2 million dollar budget comes from individuals, businesses, churches and community members.
While the organization helps people in need, it's also trying to help them avoid crisis. For example, in 2007, it started a financial education program called “Breaking the Cycle”.
“Folks will come in and have one on one and group sessions to learn how to better manage their finances and budget. They actually set up a savings account with us where we have some matching dollars. They have $1,000 in a savings account that they can use for a future crisis,” says Elliott.
Besides the Winston-Salem office on Tenth Street, Crisis Control Ministry also has a satellite office in Kernersville.