Organizations that make a dent in poverty

By Vicki Hyatt | Mar 20, 2014

Before those attending a community meeting called to address poverty in Haywood County, eight individuals provided a snapshot of services their organization offers in the county.

The Open Door, Perry Hines

Provides meals and support for the homeless and others at its Frog Level Waynesville location

2013 statistics

Meals served, 35,696

Food boxes, 1,097

Financial assistance, utilities and rent, $25,858

Showers taken, 1,043

Free haircuts, 128

Prayer and meetings, 20 a day

Second Blessing Thrift Shop – gives away clothes, household items daily

Learn more at Open Door Ministries, 39 Conley St., Waynesville, 452-3846


Haywood Christian Ministry, Lisa James

A 44-year old crisis ministry helping people meet basic needs.

"The average monthly income is $900 a month," James said of the families served through the organization. "For family of four, you can imagine trying to put food on the table and a roof over your head with that amount of income."

Help offered in 2013

Food, 3,329

Clothing, 1,992

Heat, 151

Utilities, 924

Prescriptions, 120

Rent, 73 avoided evictions

Dental, 107 extractions to get people out of pain.

Utility assistance, $91,000

Total, 5,173

"Food assistance was up by 30 percent, partly because of problems with the food stamps program. When the Baptist (food) ministry closed, we able to meet the needs of those coming in to request food. We did not turn away anyone who qualified."

Learn more at Haywood Christian Ministry, 150 Branner Ave., Waynesville, 456-4838

The Community Kitchen, Beverly Brock

Canton-based nonprofit that provides meals nightly and food boxes twice a month.


Meals served, 22,500

Food boxes, 2,205

One employee, 400 volunteers who work as teams preparing/serving meals

"In the last three months, we've provided 700 boxes The need is greatly increased because of food stamp cuts. People have gone through their savings and employment is sporadic."

Learn more at The Community Kitchen, 98 Pisgah Dr., Canton, 648-0014

Mountain Projects, Inc. Patsy Dowling

Provides a number of services, including housing programs

Waynesville housing 30

Cavalier Arms 4

Hickory Hollow, 11

Timber Ride, 5

Smokey Meadows, 24

Towers, 12

"There is a big disconnect between a minimum wage and a living wage. A living wage in Haywood County is over $12 an hour for one person."

Visit Mountain Projects at 2251 Old Balsam Road or call 452-1447


Haywood Emergency Christian Shelter, Nick Honerkamp  

Overnight shelter for those with no options that operates between Nov. 1 and April 30. Current Camp New Life location will close at the season's end and new quarters are being explored, particularly at the former state prison in Hazelwood.

• Churches sign up throughout the 26 week-period to pick up guests from The Community Kitchen and Open Door, drive to them to the shelter after the evening meal, hold devotions, music and fellowship, assign chores for the next morning and return them to the food kitchens the following morning.

• There is no charge for five days at the shelter, but if the period is longer than that, an assessment and growth plan are prepared.

• Over the last five years, 80 unique individuals have been helped, and half have found permanent shelter.

"We see less than five people a year who were homeless the year before," Honerkamp said. "We help not only with shelter, but with life change."

Learn more at 627-9000 or email Honerkamp at


Next Step Ministries, Jason, Ledford

A new ministry striving to provide transitional housing in Haywood for those released from jail.

The vision is to provide a way for those released from jail to:

• Produce future taxpayers

• Reduce the need for foster parenting due to incarceration

• Reduce recidivism, saving $30 a day per inmate.


"I think the church has let down a little bit." he said. "In the book of Acts, the church steps up and meets the need of people. We put a lot of emphasis on government help. It is time for the church to take care of the needs as we were called to do."

Circles of Hope, Millie Hershenson

An organization where those in poverty are "circle leaders." They receive training on things such as setting and achieving goals, living within a budget, securing an education or employment or other help needed to aid them in rising out of poverty. The circle leaders work with "allies," volunteers who help them break the bridge across economic lines and change their lives.

"If you are interested in transforming lives of those living in poverty, and transforming your life as well, this is a wonderful program," she said.

Learn more at or contact Hershenson through Mountain Projects at 452-1447.