By Carol Wurschmidt
Wherever there is a need, C.R.O.S.S and Catholic Charities, at times together and other times separately, provide services for those with broken lives. Both groups work year round to assist people of all ages no matter what the need or situation.
The two organizations provide a bridge for those who need assistance in the short term or for longer periods.
CROSS, short for Christians Reaching Out Serving Seymour, was established as a non-profit Tennessee corporation to coordinate humanitarian aid to the needy with the support of multiple churches in Seymour which had previously worked separately.
The organization provides primarily food but also offers anything that is donated to them to those in need. Among other things, they assist with fuel, utilities, limited medications, and helping clients to find resources to regain their former stability.
“Food boxes are handed out every 14 days for each participant,” said Buddy Green, president of CROSS. “All our efforts now are to provide Christmas vouchers for food. Applicants receive their vouchers which enables them to get food for the holiday.”
Funding that allows CROSS to continue operating is provided through all participating churches’ donations, annual fundraisers, individual and corporate donations.
They are constantly busy with applicants during their office hours, Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Catholic Charities, one of the largest charities in the United States, maintains a wide array of services for a variety of needs is overseen locally by Father Ragan Schriver.
Under the umbrella of Catholic Charities, there are eighteen programs covering homes for elderly or handicapped people, mental health programs, programs for teenagers suffering from abuse or neglect and homeless families among others. They also provide food, clothing, utilities, sometimes gasoline, and at times medications.
“Although we work under the auspices of a national Catholic Charities office, each diocese’s charity organization is independently run,” said Fr. Ragan. “We try to fit the charity to the needs of the area in which it is located.
“Catholics make up only approximately two or three percent of the population here yet we regularly assist 27,000 people annually and are glad to do so. “
Funding for the local Catholic Charities comes partly from the Diocese, United Way, foundation grants, and individual contributions. They also have several fundraisers during each year.
“We never turn away donations because there is always a need,” said Fr. Schriver.
There is always a need for volunteers for both charities. Anyone who wishes to volunteer or is in need of assistance can contact CROSS at (865) 579-6192 or Catholic Charities at (865) 524-9896.
Organizations Offer Helping Hands
By Carol Wurschmidt