By Kim West
The News Courier
More than $270,000 in assistance has been provided this year to local families in need by Limestone County Churches Involved.
LCCI, which has 40 member churches, provides emergency food and general assistance through private donations from individuals, churches, school groups and businesses.
Tere Richardson, president of the LCCI board of directors, gave a brief overview of the organization at the Community Thanksgiving Celebration at First Baptist Church on Nov. 18.
Richardson, who thanked spiritual advisors Joe Teal of First Baptist, Rob Phraner of New Life Assembly of God and Keith Williams of Finished Work Ministries, said 4,000 families have been aided this year with the help of more than 150 volunteers.
In 2007, LCCI had 19 member churches and provided nearly $62,000 in total aid, while this year’s $271,000 total assistance includes $191,000 of food through mid-November.
“LCCI’s mission is to mobilize the churches of Limestone County,” Richardson said. “We can be an emergency bridge for people in time of need and (provide) a spiritual word, and we provide emergency food and general assistance.”
Richardson described the all-volunteer staff as “such a blessing” and thanked those who “donated, advocated or volunteered” for LCCI.
“People all over the county have chosen to spend on other people,” she said. “There have been an awful lot of choices to give rather than spend money on oneself.”
Last weekend LCCI held its second annual “Stuff-a-Truck” food and personal hygiene drive, which collected approximately 10,000 items in 2011, and the organization received the offertory from the community service at First Baptist.
“The ‘Stuff-a-Truck’ was very successful, and we probably raised as much food as last year,” said Don Stone, director of operations for LCCI. “And the offertory collection at First Baptist raised $3,400.”
This week LCCI has experienced long lines at its office at the corner of Jefferson and Hobbs streets as families are seeking aid during the holidays. Stone said the LCCI office will be open today from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.