New Agency Reaches Out To Local Needy

BLYTHEWOOD – A new service agency is coming to Blythewood and Ridgeway that will provide emergency aid to individuals and families in need. The Christian Assistance Bridge will open in September as a collaborative effort of local churches, individuals and support organizations. It will be located on Blythewood Road behind Trinity UMC, in the same building that previously housed The Cooperative Ministry, which ceased operation on June 17.

The Christian Assistance Bridge will reach out to the poor by offering basic necessities and hand-up assistance. According to Trinity UMC senior pastor the Rev. Kathy Jamieson-Ogg, the faith-based organization will represent Christian values, discipleship and service.

“We have had a fruitful 10-year partnership with The Cooperative Ministry, but feel that it’s time to ‘fly the nest’ and form our own non-profit to serve our community,” said Jamieson-Ogg.

To meet the growing needs of the Blythewood community and to encourage local community and church partnerships, the Christian Assistance Bridge will offer emergency assistance, such as utilities, rent, food, medication and transportation when it opens in September, said Jamieson-Ogg. The office will be staffed by volunteers who will screen clients and offer budget counseling. Prior to the transition from The Cooperative Ministry, an average of 60 clients a month received assistance.

The service area for The Christian Assistance Bridge will include ZIP codes 29016 (Blythewood), 29229 (in northeast Richland County) and 29130 (Ridgeway). Organizers hope to increase types of assistance as more funding is secured through churches grants and individual donors. Any individual, church or organization wishing to make tax-deductible contributions may send them to Christian Assistance Bridge, c/o Trinity UMC, P.O. Box 864, Blythewood, S.C. 29016.

Planning for the new agency is being spearheaded by Trinity United Methodist Church, which is forming partnerships with churches in the Richland Northeast and Blythewood areas. A committee has been meeting for several months to evaluate how to best serve the needy in the community and to define the mission, vision and programs of The Christian Assistance Bridge. The group is working to establish by-laws, a governing board and tax exempt status.

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