Focus on the Upstate 82 - Greer Relief - 12/3/17

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, December 3rd

Executive Director Caroline Robertson describes how Greer Relief harnesses the cohesive Greater Greer community to ensure food security and housing stability for everyone who needs it.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the upstate a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. And how you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate when he was Chris Evans to game my guest is Carolina Robertson. The executive director of career relief good morning Carol in the morning Chris. Thank you for being here greater relief is an organization that well you know what I'll let you put it in your words. The first question that I usually ask is what you do and who do you do to force a tell us about Greer relief just give us an overview what do you do and who do you do for. OK we are helping agency Tom says prayer relief has been around for over eighty years. CNET and help being heat their homes of our greater career residents. And in recent years we've actually added programs to take next steps. And that we can help them prevent the crisis to begin with so that they. Don't have to come in and get that helped to begin. And I was familiar with the that the work that you do feeding the Greer community. I didn't remember that you that you also helped heat. Homes you mention how does that work so we have a financial assistance program and our safety nets and what that does is help people we actually help pay rent mortgage utilities prescriptions come for our residents. Of our dead area in groups that we focus on his residence of Greer Taylor stuck in common and offered. Okay yes it's quite rare great carrier greater Greer said Greer Taylor's. I don't end lie Lyman well first. Yes and that's that's really kind of a large area I was speaking to with another Greer association. For you which one was tonight. Remember having looked at a map and look to the city limits of Greer. And to begin with greener is much larger. City limit lies. Then you would expect yes on eight runs on double and yet if it well. You know annexation lol yeah we'll have that effect but. But it it runs from way up in this in the northern parts of Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Down to below 85 yes and it made an impression on me really how much of Greer is Greer more. And the first person in your position that that has to help. And we had all of that career night in the city you ID he does say yes you've got you've got more than just the city got a greater Greer areas so. How many people listen that you guys you're just over Tom I census is over a 130. Hour 110 arrest houses evil yeah. How that is impressive so. What does somebody have to do to qualify I'm sure everybody has called occasion for for assistance what what are some the qualifications for assistance as far as crew released his concern but one has need help. They need help they need help just need to help calm. If somebody comes in the door and says they need feed they lock out the door with taped with. Basic basic information taken at that point I that is a basic necessity we believe everybody gifts you know they're not going in shopping. They're coming in and they just need aid. And secondly for financial assistance of course the process for money is a little more intense shall come and we have a three step process com's service orientation application documentation and in case management. Are all required for financial assistance of any kind. And our qualifiers Tom is income to expense so. If somebody has inning come of 16100 dollars arm but expenses for living. In a Niger not just fun stuff that they wanna do and you know and beyond that but living expenses. If they're up in that range on them they call. Lot of organizations that offer similar services. In a rent assistance and utilities things like that. They will make a point to pay the bill directly is that how grant relief. Actually how we do that nobody locks out with money in hand touched. We work with the vendors so part of the processes actually finding out who the landlord is or finding out what utility company. And we worked very closely with TV utility companies in particular. Duke Energy receive funding from them as well as commissioner of public works of Grier so arm and work very closely with both organizations in the process of trying to help. There utility residents get the help they need. And that's really kind of a security in a liability issue for use that that you haven't given given somebody something that is. Fungible this is something they can turn into something else she's youth you've made sure that their needs are met. And I mean I've I've gotten in the same haven't when is somebody comes up to me on the street and says hey united communal we get something to eat. I'll leninism the Nate I yell yeah has it taken to a restaurant by himself and he'd have done it on occasion but I've gotten out of the habit of just handing over cash in the same way. And so same way. It's it is is it seems like it didn't practice all around but don't I wonder. From from a the from the perspective of somebody who runs an organization like Greer relief. How do you what would you tell somebody that has just been approached by somebody on the street asking for assistance. Would you say he helped them immediately or would you say aid directs them to an organization. Well let's say you're all right now for starters be prepared the somebody at some time is gonna approach you or askew. My husband has a tendency of any town where rock and especially downtown Greenville or some of the other larger cities. He looks he looks thugs and EI and that just welcomes that suggests kind of service. But be prepared know what you're going to say so I know what your plan is going to be. Com our planet our family is TU arm is to offer that same type of assistance so if are you hungry a cave let's go get you some things right now. If you need a place to go stay for the night blitz did you resources of places to stay we would king gave you money to actually. You know make them right and right but will be happy to give the information to your act and a lot of times that's when you find out you know when they throw up barriers. Yeah when you realize she. Know what this person really you know they're making a choice season try to get money from people crowded and right and that's. That's that's been my experience as well is that when you start offering the things that they say that they need. But then they don't want come right yeah because she and a lot that that tells a lot on the other hand I had eight examples we're. Somebody has asked me for money to buy food and I've bought them food and they've been very grateful I guess that's like saying you're really. He really did have that need yeah. But in terms of Greer relief yes. You are I guess. He institution handles that rather than than on. A personal basis is walking down the street you are a place where people can come and say. I have this need and get that need to tilt. And on part of our mission is to know resources arms so try to get down to the recalls of what's going on. So okay you might need help with utilities or let's talk about what led to what what has made you unable to pack T pay your utility president occasion is that under employment is it. Tom is that your child's been saved his health care related isn't broken down car what what all has gone into that lets see if there's other assistance that we can help three referrals and resource is. That can help give you. Am a little relief to the actual cause of and why you need the assistance so then again not just relieving the immediate. And answering the actual crisis itself that digging deeper and we pride ourselves on digging deeper and knowing other organizations to get to. Those who say I gather that crew relief partners with so a lot of other organizations to deliver those kinds of solutions to people who need them because. Hunger doesn't discriminate of course but it's. The reasons why you have wound up in that position are all depressed terribly serious effort at best and so. You as it again is an organization you can provide food you can provide as you said rental assistance or utilities. But providing of vehicle maintenance order or providing. Employment assistance or things like that. That's not necessarily in your wheel house he's got to sort of farm that out other organizations which is why you partner with. The likes of loaves and fishes. Sensation sure the united way and other partners yes got you. And one of the year the organization's. What are things that struck me about Greer and let me put it this way one of the things that struck me about Greer is this. Really strong sense of community bearing in Greer an and a lot of upstate. Cities have that that sort of community. But I feel it's more pronounced in Greer most pronounced against and Greer associate drink station association I know is an organization that. Primarily focuses on business development I think in the Greer area but do that do you do any work with her station and yes he saw. We do where on one of the partner agencies and half and more. Longer than I've been there for just ten players. And on I actually sit on the board of directors for agree or station's affiliation yes and our nonprofits. Seat fair enough. How does an organization link your station. Approach a nonprofit differently than they would. An a for profit business. Well for example when they're doing you know the sale walk through Greer or not. We're not adding what you guys wearing the nearest service bombs so what one thing that they've done with partnering with us is to have events so that when they've had an event in downtown Greer that a lot of times it's affiliated with an organization. I know right now they've got the advantage on markets with the Christmas market as part of the Christmas hearing Greer campaign. And actually saved by the hard another nonprofit in Greer is actually. On the recipient of some of those dollars from Matt events and that's. Affiliated with crustacean association. But there's a lot is a lot of coming early work and a lot of parrot because I mean who better than our merchants in downtown that actually seated thanks so locking our doors. He's better than you know city of Greer itself. He refers in those those folks that are so close on two actually being on the street. You partner with to try to you know make sure that people are getting their help that they need. And again I think it really speaks to you taking advantage of that strong sense of community in Greer. That you're able to get that sort of assistance from the associations that are set up there as well as the businesses that are part of the loses by inches. Now we are in the middle of the the holidays as it's called it did the period of from the end of October to the beginning of January collectively referred to as the holidays in this country. How is the works agree relief does any different during the holidays because. And knowing in my family and probably many families around the around the area at the holiday is or says he would eating and and one of your primary. Tasks. Missions they should say. Is providing food security as you've told me before. So. How is that how do you have to adjust to it to this time of year. How well we have actually program on top of our normal programs for wind so then those same Ole same home but on top of it we got an extra layer. I'm holiday for example we partnered with the local church to provide Thanksgiving dinner. For calm those he he needed help providing that little extra special meal on Thanksgiving. We are soon have another partner that we partner for Christmas meals as well say GE is our partner that and they put together feed boxes and make sure that everybody he comes to our program is able to have and provide Christmas a Christmas meal for their family. But the biggest is our Christmas morning shop again on top of our normal regular. How financial assistance in feet assistance that we still see every day that as we operate normal assistants hours. And that Christmas morning chop is away for us to help our parents. I'm our neighbors in need provide Christmas under the tree. 'cause there's a lot of programs out there that you know helped helped give the kid it's ointment right great that's wonderful but help give indicated toy is not gonna stop mom and dad from spending money. That is already tied her impossibly most likely money they don't even have. On they'll still go out spend money so I talked with him with the mother this morning. And she's not needed our service before and arms she was in Greer. But she needs she needs help with Christmas and for her she hurt she wanted to make sure that it's not her child going through and thinking that boy out. So no me irises. Is you going through and you choose seeing what's going to be under the tree at Christmas time and our goal with this program is to make sure you're not out they're spending money. That's already so tied to an already needs to go to other necessary needed our resource is for the family. But again as she something new special and shiny so that your son can actually wake up Christmas morning and there be something under the tree this special for him that you've picked out. Well and I think that's that's something that a lot of people can relate to is. Making Christmas morning special yes and that even if you're not in the position of needing assistance. That you could relate to. If you didn't need assistance you wouldn't want your children to know you wouldn't want that bird content beyond them you want the UE one a main kids. As does naturally she can and that's kind of what this Christmas morning shoppers dealing yes. It is com. And even beyond that on the baseline for it is arm running through registration. Is you know that same criteria for financial assistance and unit expenses first losing come. And where things are going and then bottom line resource is other additional resources needed but they attend classes to earn that Christmas assistance so it's not a one way giving program where you just register her and you got three kids says. Here's guess he's gay or three yanks number right it is actually earned. And it earns assistance where they they attend classes and through those classes earn an appointment to come through go shopping for their kids. So will walk us through uses the process of the classes where the class is about we've got lots of things. We got winter gardening coming up container gardening. We've got nutrition classes from three Furman the Furman nutrition students come and teach classes every two weeks. We have I yoga. How we have meditation. There's been like a blood pressure and diabetes class that I detained. Jobs services so how to write a resume. How to interview how to keep the job those types of things. As well as budgeting which is very match our bottom baseline her we always have those in classes it's nothing else. Well and it seems like. A lot of that sort of relates back to that mission of providing food security. IE you mentioned gardening and no my my mother and mother in law have both been busy gardening recently you over the years this summer and into the winner that that sort of winner gardening there are talking about. Providing your own food security ISIS' is he one of the this sort of central tenets for agree relief is not only helping people who need help let. Teaching them how they can help themselves. Yes very much so at. Com and and we try to give them and you know again it's it's getting tools scatter arm and people we rely on the resources that come to us through volunteers so all of those classes or volunteer let. We had a do it yourself arm. I'll cleaning supplies like how you can make clean supplies out of simple running households in any cheap households. On the ingredients rather than just going out buying that five dollar bottle of whatever right. Give an anchor in this ingredient missing ingredient there you have practically the same thing Mitch he would have spent that extra money on and you've got more product of it. And to be able to use half. You mentioned the well working in the Christmas morning shot right now is a guy made the Christmas morning shot runs for a week and a half and appointments run three day entity sometimes into the evening and one Saturday happily. But we've got volunteer opportunities to help them that they can't cherry. That she volunteers to just started doing Matt the last couple weeks. Volunteers pick up donations watt several volunteers pick up donations from organizations like Kosuke arm twice a weekend. On other businesses that do a regular donation to us. That we can get money are on a regular schedule to be able to do that. And then of course you like I said teaching yeah teaching classes says sharing guess that they RD have. And find chaining them to him and meet the needs of the folks that are coming in our course. You mentioned volunteers are one of the things they do is pick up donations if people wanna make a donation what I think obviously a fuel except Cassius I guess. Always say hello I sank to do what we do issuer but what are the what are some of the other donations that your especially looking for. Well feet always always looking for feet assistance as well as close I mean on household items furniture. Tom all of that comes in our program his seat if army is used throughout our review program. And you know then of course again the donation and time which is volunteering in San. And if people want to get involved either by donating their time their money or their resources or resource is. How did they do that it's just a great relief dot org had the girl. Aged out or get com or you can call us our email us from our phone number is 8648485356. Anybody that answers to things can help them. And our in our email lists in fan agri relief dot orgy. In to move into ours yes. Info at Greer relief dot ORG that's the website of course that you can visit. Greer relief dot org the phone number is on the website but I just for a the sake of thoroughness and given out again 8648485356. Or you can email info at career relief dot org. One of the projects that I know the Greer relief is involved and it is the Greer food co op yes and as Ara called that was just getting started the first time you were on this program. To do. And a half years yes this isn't just gonna Matthews see that's gone on it's probably at the end of its. Third year now so I asked how's it going it's going hmmm we are still mom or small but mighty. The we've got several of the original member still participating in a few little bit a new blood coming meant okay what the calm Griffey co op is is. A way for donations through loaves and fishes. On to be distributed to neighbors in need you have feeding insecurity. And partnered with Greg communing ministries which is where we actually meet. And then Greer relief provides the oversight and the actual staff time achieve to make that. That program tap and and for two hours every other week they unloaded day the members. Unload a truck from lesson fishes sort it onto tables Icrc can you ministries and then we meet and then they distribute seed in and take it how. So on they're still walking out the door with probably about a 10050. Plus dollars worth a fresh. Meat and cheese and priorities and freeze and just beautiful beautiful fade. And one of the things that really strikes me about this program is the co op part of this is actually did they have to cooperate in zoo the blue they are ambitious enough of their members and they cooperate in the provision of this suited to other members and including themselves. So in sort of contrast too good to just took a regular sort of assistance three show up say any food and you'd get some food this actually has a. Component to yes so it'd as armed habitat calls it sweat equity okay com's Heather sweat equity involved today they. Is on set up as they needed on the truck has unloaded appropriately. And we've even had people come in and show them how to. Properly lift things and that kind of thing just to make sure everything to everybody has an all right time. And distribute seed on its course people have allergies and making sure that sansei doesn't get this type of seed. Or that it's put aside so that everybody can get it as they needed. And then again they paid they help each other you know they're helping each other get defeat to the car they could be aided a community. Where they did not know these other members rioted in the door they actually now our friends and sometimes even. As far as best presents with some of the other members. Well one of the things that they're really like about it is that it's. When someone is destitute. And it is easy to become despondent. And and has isolated the isolated in any feel like you're the only one you feel like nobody else can understand you feel like you know. Here on and it's also no mind get a ring him I mean I'm not worth it it's kind of a thing and it begins is sort of downward spiral as it reinforces itself and end and never gets any better and that's one of the things that that's sort of the strong sense of community has talked about the cooperation. That that that's involved. Really helps to combat yes. Won the last thing before word before run out of time here you mentioned that you have an event coming up in April that kind of piqued my curiosity relief on tap. Yes as I'll give up my Alley oh it is honest says the right kind of really for the right time. Relief fund Taft is a thumb is a beer festival and Weingarten that will be held in career on April 21. So we're very excited this is a new event for us on mothers and Nina are on the yes sir speedy this is actually the first place I've actually formally announced it oh. Says he can pretty it is here it is Jane Q. And Tom yeah so were very excited to offer at this on it'll be during the day so be like an evening and be like a lot of the other beer festivals arm events during the day. And arm open air that comes thanks Sam. Okay we're looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to it to that sounds very interest in. Carolina Robertson executive director of career relief has been my guest today let's go over the contact information one more time for Ryan time here. Greer relief dot org. They don't necessarily need to ask for you know they can netting and Larry they'd had and I. Doug Florida your eye ferret out this busy woman but you've. He's got a phone number that you can call 864. 8485356. That he's 64848. 5356. Or if you are tech savvy. You may email info at Greer relief dot org. I NFO angry released out of work or just go to the website there's it's really very nice website and on and very proud of our web site its friends ingenious states like this beautiful and it seems like you can find a lot of information very quickly. There's a button for get help there's a button for Tony there's a button for contact us. So anything that you wanna do to get involved with career relief he can accomplish through Greer relief dot org Beasley. Carolina Robertson executive director of grew really. Has been my guess thanks very much for being abusive and much we appreciate it it's my pleasure I'm Chris Evans and this has been focus on upstate. You've been listening to focus on the upstate with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic email Chris. At C Evans