Meeting the Needs of Others Close to Home
By Tonja Talley
There are moments in everyone’s life when we need not a handout but a hand up. This month will complete the two-part series about meeting the needs of others close to home. These interviews began at Mount Pleasant Christian Church, followed by ACCESS transportation and ended at the White River Township Trustee Office with Mark Messick.
Community Ministry Center
The new Community Ministry Center (CMC) on the Mount Pleasant Christian Church (MPCC) campus stands as a beacon of hope. It will soon serve clients for both the Living Bread (LB) food pantry and In His Name (IHN) clothing ministry. These two entities have witnessed the harsh financial realities of the community through the years. With the influx of clients, both ministries have groaned for additional space.
Located in the southern area of the church parking lot, MPCC aims to open their new facilities before the end of the year. For the two ministries that serve a combined average of 250 households weekly, the CMC will be a welcome change. ”By placing both ministries together in the CMC, everyone from both ministries will be able to sit down, enjoy a free snack or meal, hear God’s Word through a devotion and shop all in one place and one visit,” said Crystal Thompson, MPCC’s Community Connections Coordinator.
With the announcement of the new facilities, the church revealed the CMCwill be taking on a broader scope in the fight against hunger. Crystal explained that the CMC will be helping Midwest Food Bank. Their mission is to gather food contributions from major food corporations and funnel the food down to smaller food pantries and national disaster sites, all at no charge. Crystal says the CMC will be stocked weekly with at least 12 pallets of canned food. In turn, these pallets will help feed the households of LB clients and assist other pantries in the southern parts of Johnson County.
- For more information on shopping and donation times, please call (317) 881-6727 or visit mpcc.info.
In 1993, United Way did a needs assessment for Johnson County. Its findings placed transportation as the number one unmet need. With increased funding assistance, Gateway Services’ ACCESS began to rev up their engines for their clients and the community. Becky Allen, Director of Transportation, says ACCESS began operating a community transportation service with Demand Response. By 2001, ACCESS was coordinating with IndyGo to provide off-peak hours between Kmart and the Greenwood Park Mall, plus providing flexible fixed routes on US 31 between Greenwood and Franklin. “We found in 2012 that we were doing a lot of deviations due to the flexible fixed routes. We couldn’t provide the quality of service people had come to expect. Change was evident.”
Today ACCESS connects people to and from through Zipline, Zip Connect and Zone to Zone Demand Response. For those in Greenwood, there are three fixed Ziplines each weekday: Greenwood West, Greenwood East and US 31. The Greenwood East and West lines start at 7:20 am and run simultaneously every 40 minutes, ending at 5:20 pm. The US 31 route begins its day at 5 am and finishes at 8:20 pm. The Greenwood routes begin and end the day at the Greenwood Park Mall, and the US 31 route begins and ends at the Franklin Walmart. A rider can catch the bus anywhere on these three fixed routes. Each ride costs $1 with a free transfer, or the bus driver can sell a day pass for $2. Exact change is required.
For those who are unable to get to a listed bus stop, Zip Connect is available to feed into the Zipline. If a person is within one mile of a bus stop, ACCESS will happily pick clients up and connect them to the nearest Zipline. To get on the Zip Connect schedule, a person needs to contact ACCESS before they need the service. You must call at least 24 hours in advance and no later than 1 pm the day before they need the ride. “This is where we get to be like the airlines,” giggled Becky. “There are no direct flights.”
The Zone to Zone Demand Response, a curb-to-curb option, is a shared ride program for anyone in Johnson County. This type of ride fits well with those who cannot drive due to age or medical reasons. Like the Zip Connect, a rider needs to let ACCESS know their intentions by calling 24 hours in advance of an appointment.
All 44 ACCESS drivers are registered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. They undergo yearly physicals, security tests and drug and alcohol testing.
- For additional information on ACCESS and their rules, routes and prices, call (317) 738-5523 or visit accessJohnsoncounty.org. If you are calling on a TTY, please call (317) 738-3951.
White River Township Trustee Office
At the White River Township Trustee Office, a treasure of information from organizations willing to lend a hand up awaits anyone who visits. The trustee’s office is widely known for helping qualified applicants with emergency assistance for basic necessities. “Many times, however, our job is to direct people to those agencies that can help with other specific needs,” Township Trustee Mark Messick said. “Sometimes it may be as simple as how to positively present oneself in an interview. Mount Pleasant Christian Church has an excellent job program that teaches on that very topic.”
United Way has a multitude of agencies that they support and work with to supply assistance to people, such as the Economic Assistance Program. Currently through grants and federal funds, this United Way program works with those who have lost their job because of the economy. This program helps families find resources and financial assistance to get through struggling times. It also provides educational opportunities for families to learn how to manage financial resources better.
Browsing through the different pamphlets, one brochure talked about how to receive a free phone and 250 free voice minutes each month. Another brochure was about St. Thomas Clinic, a free health clinic for adults who live in Johnson County. You can find a list of over 100 resources on the White River Township website, whiterivertownship.org/assistance (click on the “Helpline of Johnson County list of organizations” link).
No matter what the need may be, stop in and talk to the folks at the Township Trustee Office. Like the other organizations, they too try their best to meet the needs of others close to home.
- Call the White River Township Trustee Office at (317) 422-1143, Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm, or visit at 2929 S. Morgantown Rd.
Tonja Talley has called Center Grove home since 1993. An 11-year bi-lateral lung transplant survivor, Tonja enjoys speaking on behalf of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. She also volunteers for the CF Foundation, byTavi, and her church.