VINTON — In several rooms at the rear of a building are filled with donated children’s clothes, men’s and women’s clothing, toys, wash cloths and towels. In in still yet another is a pantry filled with personal hygiene items, canned and dry goods.
Folks who turned out for God’s Hands at Work’s open house mid-Sunday afternoon on Keystone Road received the grand tour of the new service center that will help people in need in Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton counties in Ohio, and Mason County, W.Va.
The open house took place in the former Fellowship Chapel in Vinton.
According to Lisa Carroll, organization president, “We are God’s Hands at Work, a local nonprofit organization, is a group of believers who came together after a series of terrible tragedies in our area. We serve Gallia, Jackson, Vinton and Meigs counties in Ohio and West Virginia. Our mission is to love our neighbors as ourselves as we are commanded in God’s Word, by providing a ‘hand up’ when we see a need.”
The group helps coordinate and network individuals with groups, services and items that an individual may need when down on their luck. Carroll made a point to emphasize that while the organization often serves financially disadvantaged individuals, they will often step in to help individuals that approach the group when facing a temporary hardship like a sudden loss in employment.
Carroll said the group started as a way to help a family that had suffered a tragedy due to a home fire and the program sprung to life from the incident. The group has helped provide food boxes, clothes, hygiene items, household items, furniture, as well as prom dresses to individuals searching for such items. When the group can, it attempts to help with utility payments such as getting a family’s electricity turned back on, provided that funding is available.
Last year, the organization helped 168 families. Some of the services provided were help with clothes, utility payments, flood assistance and even coat giveaways.
But as Carroll told a gathering of people Sunday in the sanctuary that the program is need-based, not income-based.
“We do our best to research every application and we pray on each one,” she said. “Many times, hard-working folks just need a hand up, and that’s mostly what we’re about. We provide that to our neighbors when we see a need.”
Carroll said the group is not all about “gloom and doom,” meaning lending a hand to people who have been hit with tragedy. She said she hopes to conduct community dinners at the facility, in addition to the planned 7 p.m. meetings on the second Monday of each month.
“We have a lot of plans for a lot of really great activities,” Carroll said. “We’re hoping to give back to the community in a lot of ways with some fun activities with the family … some good, wholesome fellowship time.”
Carroll said God’s Hands is always looking for volunteers to help as well.
“It’s a lot of work. We enjoy it and we have fun with what we do. It’s not a drudgery at all to serve Him,” she said. “We invite you anytime you want to come out.”
Hours of operation for God’s Hands at Work Service Center will be noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday. The group also plans to have an indoor-type yard sale on the last Saturday of each month.
For the open house and “official” ribbon-cutting ceremony, some area officials present were Michelle Miller, executive director of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning and state Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell.
For more information, call (740) 645-7609 or contact the group through its God’s Hands at Work Facebook page.
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.