Empty Stocking Fund agency profile: Fort Mill Care Center

Volunteers load up food for the needy at the Fort Mill Care Center on Monday.
Volunteers load up food for the needy at the Fort Mill Care Center on Monday.

It's time to help the area's less fortunate by participating in The Empty Stocking Fund, organized by The Herald. The fund is a holiday assistance effort to help needy families in the newspaper's readership area.

Contributions will be divided among eight local nonprofit groups -- Fort Mill Care Center, Clover Area Assistance Center, Chester County Department of Social Services, The Turning Point of Chester, Project HOPE, PATH (People Attempting to Help), Salvation Army and Tender Hearts Community Outreach.

Contributions to the Empty Stocking Fund can be mailed to P.O. Box 10921, Rock Hill, SC 29731, or dropped off at The Herald, 132 W. Main St., Rock Hill. Contributors' names will be published in The Herald.

Agency: Fort Mill Care Center Inc., 513 Banks St., Fort Mill

Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Services: Short-term emergency assistance with food, rent, utilities, gas, kerosene and life-sustaining prescription drugs to residents in the Fort Mill school district.

By the numbers: In 2006, the center assisted 3,560 clients, including 239 new clients. Seventy-three percent needed assistance with utilities, while 26 percent requested help with prescription drugs. Almost 144,000 pounds of food was given away in 2006. From January to October of this year, 3,236 clients, including 224 new clients, received assistance. Sixty-four percent were assisted with utilities, while 21 percent needed help with prescription drugs. More than 124,500 pounds of food has been distributed.

What they are seeing now: Becky Traynor, the center's president, said the center has been seeing clients needing help paying utility bills. Several have needed food and medicine. Traynor said they recently had six new clients sign up in one day.

Example of a recent individual/ family served: Traynor said an unemployed single mother with children came in needing food after being deserted by her spouse/boyfriend. "He left her in a horrible situation. We helped her with food immediately that would last for five days, and school supplies for her children."

Sources of funding: Contributions from churches, individuals, social and civic organizations, businesses, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United Way of York County.

Budget: The care center gave almost $119,000 in financial assistance last year. From January to October this year, it has given more than $128,000.

Brief history: The Fort Mill Care Center was founded in 1967 by the Fort Mill Ministerial Association to handle requests for family aid.

Contact information: Becky Traynor, president, 547-7620.