The Girard Church hosts a forum on aid to the poor | News, Sports, Jobs


GIRARD – Church members, pastors, law enforcement, social workers, counselors and more gathered for a day of learning on how to help those experiencing poverty .

The Bridges Out of Poverty training was recently held at Girard United Methodist Church, with over 30 participants.

Meghan DeGregory, ministry coordinator at the church, said Thrive 10:10 is a new nonprofit launched at the church that also includes Ruth’s Boutique, which started in 2019 to provide services to women in the need 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month. She said 65 people were helped last month.

Ruth’s Boutique offers hygiene and beauty products to women. Plans are to expand with more items for men and children in 2022.

“With training, there is a way to bridge the gap between the different organizations and groups that help people in the community”, DeGregory said.

Angie Cameron, director of the Center for Human Services Development at Youngstown State University, said the six-hour training helped people better understand mental models of poverty, the middle class and the wealthy.

“By understanding this, they can begin to impart this knowledge to their colleagues, clients they work with, and churches to help them understand the barriers people face and what are ways to better serve them. It allows them to look at life through a different set of lenses and helps them to be more efficient, effective and useful to clients in poverty ”, Cameron said.

She said the center is an externally funded outreach organization that provides professional development and grant writing services.

“The Bridges Out of Poverty can help the community understand what Ruth’s Boutique and Thrive 10:10 are trying to do. It really gives you a different understanding and perspective of what people face in their lives ”, Cameron said.

DeGregory said they tried to do engaging, interactive, and hands-on activities on what can sometimes be “an uncomfortable subject.”

Reverend Vicky Kelly, pastor of the church, said Thrive 10:10 is from the Bible passage at John 10:10 which talks about giving abundantly.

“Ruth’s Boutique is more than just a gift. The event helped me understand the hidden assumptions people may have. We all have them on what poverty, the middle class and the rich are. When we recognize this, it helps us communicate better with people ”, she said.

Church member Sherry Steiner said the event helped teach professionals how to effectively and compassionately deliver a “raised hand” to those who live in poverty.

“New friends were made while new ideas were shared with a view to presenting useful information to the Girard community and beyond” said Steiner.

“I have always been passionate about this subject and wanted to know more. I can help apply what I learned today to help others in all areas of life. We can never assume that we know someone’s situation just by looking at them ”, she said.

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