Franklin Cooperative Ministries in need of volunteers, donations

Published 10:37 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

Twenty-two years ago, Mildred Burgess planted the seeds that would become Franklin Cooperative Ministries when she began donating coats and warm clothes from the trunk of her car to people in need.

Burgess, along with church leaders from Southampton County and the City of Franklin, created Franklin Cooperative Ministries to provide emergency assistance.

Relying entirely on contributions, Franklin Cooperative operates a clothing closet and food pantry for qualifying residents of all Southampton County and the city of Franklin, as well as those who live south of 460 in Isle of Wight County. They also provide hygiene kits, large items such as baby strollers and other useful appliances to people in dire straits.

“We don’t want to foster dependency,” said Veronica Ferguson, the organization’s director. “We only want to help in case of absolutely dire need.”

All those seeking aid must meet privately with Ferguson, who verifies that the potential client demonstrates emergency need and approves them for assistance.

“Everything we do is through donations and volunteer work,” Ferguson said. “I’m the only full-time employee, and we have two part-time workers, but otherwise it’s all volunteers.

“We can say what we want about this town, this community, but people truly care about each other. We couldn’t do what we do with them.”

Ferguson said that in recent months they’ve particularly noticed an increase in the number of adults over the age of 50 who come to Franklin Cooperative for emergency assistance.

“You know there are still people who don’t know that we exist,” she added. “But we’re not a store. You don’t come in here to shop. We can only help you if you if there is real emergency need.”

Ferguson encourages readers to assist Franklin Cooperative Ministries in its work by volunteering their time and donating food and clothes to the clothing closet and food pantry.

Those who wish to donate are encouraged to give nonperishable food items such as canned fruit, peanut butter, pasta noodles, crackers, canned meats, canned vegetables and any kind of soup.

She said that there is particular need for blankets, linens, pillows, towels and washcloths.

Those who wish to donate, volunteer or have emergency need meriting assistance from Cooperative Ministries, contact their office at 516-6322.