Economic turmoil often hits the poor the hardest.
“It’s affected us all,” said Paula McAfee who manages the Ministry of HOPE, which provides assistance to those who are in crisis.
And providing food for those in crisis has become more expensive, she said.
“Gas prices are going down, and groceries hopefully will come down because it will be cheaper to transport,” McAfee said.
Food price increases is one area that McAfee said she has noticed most – whether she is shopping locally or at discount stores in Clovis or Amarillo.
“And we go through diapers like crazy,” McAfee said.
In midst of a strained budgets, the ministry has changed its focus to a “crisis only” basis since August.
After a person or family makes an appointment by phone, the ministry’s staff works to assess the need and meet that need to the best of the ministry’s ability.
McAfee also said it gives the ministry an opportunity to counsel and pray with those who are sometimes hurting, hungry, lonely, and even angry.
The acronym “HOPE” stands for “Helping Others Prosper Eternally, said McAfee.
“We are a Christian ministry, and our mission is to fulfill the ‘Great Commission’ spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20.”
In the past, there were some who would take advantage of the ministry, and some donated goods ended up in garage sales demonstrating there was not a legitimate need, McAfee said.
The ministry does have a large volunteer staff and sometimes has to decline donations unitl they can catch up with sorting and hanging and shelving items.
But as its volunteer base grows, this should be less of a problem, according to McAfee.
“We want to encourage people to volunteer and we also want to encourage people to give financially,” McAfee said.
During a recent month, the ministry gave a helping hand to more than 130 individuals who were in real crisis situations.
“We know that we cannot meet the needs of every person who comes to the Ministry of HOPE, and some will even question the changes we have made, but we believe these changes are in the best interest of those who have legitimate needs,” McAfee said.