A new option for those who lose homes due to disaster

Submitted by David Whisenant
Friday, July 12th, 2013, 11:48am


A new option for those who lose homes due to disaster

SALISBURY – For Charles Nannie, having a new home after losing his in a fire, has lots of benefits.

“Man, I love this place here,” Nannie told WBTV.  “I got some new neighbors, they’re quiet, I don’t hear nothing out of none of them.”

What Nannie did hear on Friday were words of encouragement and thanks for the way things came together for him to be able to live in the house.

On Friday the ribbon was cut to mark the official opening and dedication of the house.  Rev. John Rivers of Grateful Heart Ministries provided WBTV with a description of the project:

This home will be used for families who are burned out or experience unexpected hardships and need short term housing.  The fully furnished three bedroom house is located at 116 Harrell Street behind Wal-Mart where the ceremony will take place.

Grateful Heart is partnering with other agencies in Rowan County. The family receives at no cost to them for their brief stay lodging, utilities, telephone, basic cable, food, furnishings, cleaning supplies, and lawn care

Agencies may refer families for short term transitioning to other housing when it is available.  The Elizabeth Dole Chapter of The American Red Cross was able to refer burned out victims already. The need is so great. When asked how often The Red Cross needs transitional housing the answer was, “weekly”. They shared there weren’t any other homes made available free to families in our area until Grateful Heart made this one available.

The house was purchased and refurbished through an anonymous donation made in Grateful Heart’s 2012 fiscal year. “As others contribute additional homes will be made available to meet this tremendous need,” stated Johnny Morgan, Executive Director of Grateful Heart Community Services.

Grateful Heart Community Services lists this house as the most recent of its programs for citizens of the ten cities of Rowan County. They began as a 501©3 organization in 2008 with three programs. They first opened a free food pantry which is now a Feed America agency in Rowan County feeding over 250 families a month with a supply of emergency food for a week.  This is an appointment only program. Our clients call and leave their phone number where we may call and set up their time to pick up their assembled boxed food of meats, canned goods, and non food items. They then choose fruits, vegetable, and pastry products when available.

Secondly they held free community tent services which ended with a huge hot dog roast, with all the trimmings, for the citizens in those neighborhoods.

Thirdly they opened a free Non Food Pantry with clothing, hygiene articles, and a varied assortment of goods for the family.

The second phase in 2011 introduced Transitional Housing for homeless men who had nowhere to go.   Grateful Heart now houses and trains ten men in two locations. They will soon merge all the men into one location.

Then a need arose for school supplies.  The School Zone was established where students who received classroom lists for supplies could come and pick them up before school. Uniforms are available for some school colors when available.

A pilot nutritional program for the elderly has been under way near the Grateful Heart facility. Fruits, vegetables and healthy microwavable frozen dinners are made available on a regular basis. Our clients are now eating more regularly and nutritionally.  The program will expand into other areas in the future. 

The Emergency Transition House becomes the newest program developed to help. Grateful Heart chose David and Janet Yates as administrators to receive referrals, keep the shelves stocked, and make any repairs needed.

 All the programs are free to those in need. As long as Grateful Heart has those who volunteer, give, and pray their services will expand.  

This faith-based public charity will continue to trust God for the resources needed to continue their present programs and then expand to be there in areas where free help is needed.