Rock Hill agency offers Hope for working families

John Chura, a volunteer from St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church, loads a box of groceries Thursday at Project Hope on Park Avenue in Rock Hill.
John Chura, a volunteer from St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church, loads a box of groceries Thursday at Project Hope on Park Avenue in Rock Hill. tkimball@heraldonline.com

Project Hope, a Rock Hill emergency assistance agency, is adding client hours on Tuesday nights to better serve working families.

Beginning next week, the Park Street agency will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday, in addition to its daytime hours of 9 to 11 a.m. Monday to Thursday.

“We had more and more people that couldn’t come during morning hours because they are working, and they can’t afford to miss time or jeopardize their job,” said Sheila Neisler, who handles marketing and community relations for Project Hope.

Project Hope, founded in 1975, provides food and assistance with utilities and prescription drugs to needy families who qualify based on income.

Neisler said the agency gives out around 6,000 pounds of food each week. “Literally, we are responding to the growing needs of the community,” she said.

According to the U.S. Census, 19.7 percent of residents of Rock Hill live below the poverty level. Neisler said many of those are working parents who don’t earn enough to provide for their families.

Neisler said one Rock Hill client wrote her to ask for help when her food stamps ran out. She said the woman was earning $360 a week before taxes, but $90 of her weekly earnings were going to pay for child care.

“Between taking care of her kids and paying rent and electricity and gas to get to work, she was running out of money for food,” Neisler said. “We met her at Hope and gave her a week’s worth of food.”

Project Hope will be offering volunteer training for people who want to help the agency’s clients from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 23 and Aug. 25 at the Park Avenue site. She said trainees will spend time shadowing current volunteers.

Neisler said the agency has hosted community food drives to make sure it has enough food to meet the need. “We really want to serve the folks that are working and that can’t get off during the day to pick up food,” she said.

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077

More information

Project Hope, 411 Park Ave., Rock Hill, provides food and assistance with the cost of utilities and prescription drugs. Families must qualify based on income guidelines because the agency receives food from both state and federal food assistance programs.

To qualify, the family’s monthly income must be less than:

▪  One person, $1,485

▪  Two people, $2,003

▪  Three people, $2,520

▪  Four people, $3,308

▪  Five people, $3,555

▪  Six people, $4,073

Clients need to bring identification, including a Social Security card for each member of the family, and a driver’s license or valid ID. Those who are working must bring a pay stub or verifiable work identification. Those who want utility assistance need to bring a utility bill, and for medication a doctor’s prescription.

The agency welcomes people who want to host a food drive to benefit Project Hope through their workplace or church. For details, visit www.projecthope-rockhill.org or call 803-504-4686.