COLUMN: Franklin Cooperative Ministry update

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Franklin Cooperative Ministry has operated, with your support, for 30 years! This is an amazing milestone for a locally-run, community-supported nonprofit and we don’t mind saying that, without you, we wouldn’t have made it this far. Community helping community works and our success is proof!

Margaret Anne C. Smith

As we work to build relationships and limit duplication of services, we welcome the Foodbank’s new 618 Marketplace to Franklin. We are confident they are equipped and ready to meet food needs on a regular, consistent basis and the time has come for us to pass the torch and begin phasing out the existing food pantry at FCM. As the Foodbank steps forward and we slowly step back, we will not be requesting or restocking jelly, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, dried or canned beans, canned meats and canned fruit that require a can opener, oatmeal, grits, soup, ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, pasta, rice, muffin mix and tea bags.

In the coming months we will monitor our truly emergency inventory: peanut butter, crackers, pop-top canned meats, single-serve canned fruit and pop-top canned pasta with meat. We will, based on need, also stock breakfast bars, granola bars, Nabs, Pop Tarts, bottled water and juice boxes. These no-prep foods, along with foods we receive from our partnership with Food Donation Connection, will allow us to continue working with transients, people living in motels, people without electricity and the mentally ill — a much smaller population but an often overlooked one. As we shift to serving this population, we will not need to maintain as large an inventory as we currently have.

We will continue to have a free clothing closet, assist with payment of emergency dental extractions for uninsured adults, have diapers (infant, children and adult) and feminine hygiene products available, work with Franklin Lions Club to assist with vision exams and glasses, assist with the cost of prescription medications, assist with payment of rent to stop the eviction process, assist with the purchase of gasoline for transportation emergencies and assist with payment of utility bills to stop disconnection of service. To complement our clothing closet we will increase the availability of hygiene items to help our neighbors meet those basic needs. We will continue assisting with essentials like toilet paper, shampoo, soap, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant — items that cannot be purchased with food stamps and that are not provided elsewhere.

We remain committed to helping our neighbors meet unexpected crises and return to a place of stability. Our policies promote personal responsibility as we empower our neighbors to be proactive about their situations. Our programs are not income-based. We are able to assist families who are not eligible for assistance through the Department of Social Services because it has been our mission, for 30 years, to provide help when other resources cannot.

We will continue to be here for others as long as you continue to be here for us! We will maintain a list of Top Needs for you, which we will post to our Facebook page as well. We can also be reached by calling (757) 516-6322 or emailing masmith@franklincoopministry.com. Thank you for your support as we step into a new season for Franklin Cooperative Ministry!

Margaret Anne C. Smith is the Director of Franklin Cooperative Ministry and can be reached at masmith@franklincoopministry.com.