In 1973, local churches banded together to help meet the needs of those in the county and Interfaith Community Services is still going strong today.
But the group wants to remind the community the local needs continue to grow.
ICS has a focus to address the emergency needs of the community through cooperation and financial support from area congregations.
While the group is open to anyone across denominational and racial lines, only about 30 of the 200 plus churches in the county are active with the organization.
ICS was first formed to help funnel requests and, instead of one individual going around to several churches asking for help, the organization could be sent to one place.
Also, churches can refer people to the service and not duplicate services or funds.
Today the group has a food and general living needs ministry known as the Manna house; provides transportation funds, nursing home services and prison ministries; provides chaplains for the hospital; and does sermons for both The Newberry Observer and radio station.
The group is totally made up of volunteers and all donations go to the services it provides.
The food bank is staffed by members of local churches. Food for the bank is provided by local churches, individuals and groups. The food bank in housed in the Department of Social Services building at the corner of Wilson and Smith roads in Newberry and is open Monday through Friday 1-2 p.m., except on state holidays.
Those needing help are screened by DSS workers and given an allotment of food.
The group helps about 300 households per year.
Items needed to keep the food pantry stocked include nonperishable food, paper goods, cleaning items and toiletries. Donated items can be taken to DSS during normal business hours.
The food bank is also taking donated fresh items from local gardens and even some donated eggs.
The group also can assist with utilities, rent, mortgages and prescription medications. The ICS also supports the county’s free medical clinic.
The group meets quarterly at different churches. The next meeting is scheduled for July 28 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Pomaria. Anyone is welcome to attend.
ICS also welcomes monetary donations as well as donations of time.
The group claims if every church member were to donate just a few dollars, it could meet a host of needs.
But with tough times, the group is finding its funds low and is in need of money, food and volunteers.
Monetary donations can be sent to Fran Hatch, 1250 Jones St., Newberrry 29108, or taken by DSS. To volunteer with the ICS, contact Sara Smith at DSS by calling 321-2155, extension 155.