By Ashley Rader
New director Nikki Jones wants to be able to expand services offered by Assistance and Resource Ministries.
“There is so much need in Carter County,” she said.
Jones, who has been director since Jan. 1, said requests for aid come constantly at the agency.
She said phone calls come almost back-to-back, and individuals will come to the door before the non-profit opens for the day. When the agency does open, especially on days when food boxes are distributed, clients will be lined up in the parking lot waiting for their turn to be served.
Last month, ARM provided food boxes for 500 families in Carter County. The agency also provides clothing and furniture assistance, emergency assistance with utility bills and referrals to other agencies that offer services that ARM does not.
The food boxes are created from items either donated to ARM or purchased from Second Harvest Food Bank cost sharing program.
Jones said an important part of her job as director is budgeting the food items available for the food boxes.
“I am learning to budget everything,” she said. “We operate on donations and we have to use those donations to help the community. For the food boxes, sometimes we have donations of food to put in them, but usually I have to buy the food through Second Harvest’s cost sharing program. It is cheaper than getting it at regular cost but it still gets expensive. When I am preparing the food boxes with the donations, it is tough, but I make it work.”