Cooperative Ministry lends helping hand to many in community

Published 8:35 am Friday, December 3, 2010

by Veronica Ferguson

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of guest columns by representatives of organizations that benefit from the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.

I have so many stories to tell about how Franklin Cooperative Ministry has been able to change lives that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Where do I start to let you know of things that FCM has been able to do to help clients with emergency needs in our area?

Should I tell you about …

The homeless, diabetic 55-year-old gentleman who has had a severe stroke and walks with a limp and a cane? He slept in a gazebo in Franklin for five days, having only one hot dog and a bag of chips in three days.

He had no insulin for eight days. He requested our help with food and a possible motel stay. He collapsed in our office and was taken to the hospital by rescue squad.


A 28-year-old mother of two children under the age of 5, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? She drives herself and the children to her chemo and radiation treatments. Then she comes home and puts them in her bed to watch TV for a little while so that she is able to get some much-needed rest before getting up to fix their meals, wash their clothes and be there for them before going to her part-time job. She needs our help with her electric bill.


The 74-year-old grandmother, who has legal custody of her great-grandson? The parents are unable to care for him, and she does not want to put him in foster care. This child needs school supplies and clothes.


The husband and wife, who have always worked and never had to go to anyone for help with their bills? Who meet with me after-hours because they are afraid and embarrassed that someone will see them.

He is now unemployed, and her income will not meet expenses. They have cut back every way they can, and it’s still not enough. She makes just a little too much to qualify for food stamps and fuel assistance. One month they pay the mortgage, the next month the utility bills. They are always a month behind. They need our help with budget counseling and utility bills.


The gentleman who has worked for the same company for 15 years and now the business has closed? He can’t afford insurance. But he had a severe heart attack and was sent home from the hospital with 16 prescriptions — a total prescription cost of $800.

We were able to help with one prescription at a cost of $200.

These are just a few of the many clients FCM has seen in the last six months.

Franklin Cooperative Ministry is an ecumenical ministry at 511 N. Main St. in Franklin. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

We are a non-profit organization funded by local churches, businesses, organizations and grants from Franklin-Southampton Charities, Camp Foundations and Franklin-Southampton Area United Way.

We offer emergency food, clothing and financial assistance with mortgage, rent, utility, prescription and dental needs. We require that our clients do their part in finding a way to pay a portion of the bill before we are able to assist. We are able to help with a small financial amount every 13 months.