Our staff stands ready to offer compassionate assistance to those in need.
Our Mission- The “How”- Part 1… Community Closets
One of our major thrusts into the pockets of poverty in our community is our “Community Closets”; a wonderful example of “going” among the needy and encountering them relationally.
The vision for our Community Closets is a simple one. A part of human suffering is met when a person is adequately clothed. Giving used clothes to the poor has long been a favorite outreach for many people, perhaps because it is less costly to undertake than home building or financial aid. But an inherent problem in ALL benevolence ministry is that of abuse. Even with second-hand clothing, it’s an easy matter to receive this form of assistance under the guise of being needful of it… and then pack off the plunder to a flea market or yard sale, using the proceeds for less-than-honorable purposes. Each of our four Community Closets is managed in a manner which reduces this potential for abuse.
Head Start Pre-school- Our first Closet! This nonprofit organization provides an educational and social setting for some of our community’s youngest souls living in poverty. We had frequently received pleas from the director of the school to provide adequate clothing for children who would arrive wearing their parent’s clothes, or without underwear, or lacking serviceable footwear, or needing to replace clothes which were recently “soiled”. We placed an 8X10 foot insulated metal building adjacent to the school and we stocked it with clothing, diapers, shoes, coats and other essential items. The distribution of these goods is managed by the director and teachers, thus greatly lessening the potential for misuse.
Pine Knot Elementary School- This pubic school experiences many of the same issues which Head Start does. It is not uncommon for a 7-year-old to arrive at school on a cold winter day wearing only a thin sweatshirt; and this by necessity, not choice. We placed another building, just like the one above, next to the school’s Family Resource Center. Not only are the students able to find relief from the items in the closet, but if the director of the center knows of deeper family need they are able to address it immediately.
The Eagle Center- When our public school system moved to consolidate, many remote communities lost a part of their identity as the local school, a hub of social interaction, was closed. We seized the opportunity and moved into a building at the old Eagle Elementary School, establishing a wonderful ministry center. Our Eagle Community Closet (CC) was launched to meet the ongoing need for clothing and other items by the precious people living in this very impoverished area. What began as a small classroom presence has been expanded into a separate building which serves the material needs of literally thousands of individuals each year. When there is a structure fire anywhere in the county, this is the center that everyone comes to for various forms of assistance. Under the supervision of a few local volunteers, compassionate scrutiny is exercised in the providing of goods to those who now have a place to once again gather… in relationship.
The Pine Knot Center (PKC)- A Cooperative Undertaking- With the Eagle CC serving needful people in the northern part of our nearly 500 square-mile county, the need for a similar center in the south became most evident. The PKC is a result of intense prayer and much hard work. Located on the main street of the Pine Knot community of southern McCreary County, this 3,000 square foot building serves a dual purpose. It is here that we process the tons of donated clothing, and other items, which arrive from points of origin across the nation. We look for, and most often receive, good, clean, and many times NEW items of clothing in all sizes; men’s, women’s, boys, girls, and babies. The clothes are sorted, folded and placed in large bins… but they don’t remain there for long! We have a very rapid turnover of donated clothing, so we’re always looking for more. The front portion of the PKC has been transformed into what some have called a “boutique of sorts”. The warm knotty pine walls of the storefront lend themselves to establishing a peace-filled place for people to meet with our volunteer staff, browse for needed clothing, and establish meaningful relationships. We’ve chosen to operate this CC as a “cooperative endeavor”, meaning that if you utilize the services of the center, it is anticipated that you will become a part of the effort, volunteering time and providing used clothing of your own. Membership cards are issued and participation is recorded. Please remember, our ministry is NOT about simply giving free stuff to poor people!
While all four of these Community Closets are serving a large segment of our community, there are other ways in which Hills and Hollers Ministries is meeting people at their point of need… along the road!
Stepping through the doors of the PKC you find a wonderful, warm, boutique feel.
We also "take it on the road"! Our Community Closet director, Rita, sits on the back of a trailer with a local woman, during one of our "Days of Sharing" at local churches and other sites.
The following items are currently needed in the Pregnancy Support Center: