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Helping Hands
11/16/2012
Helping Hands Storehouse will get boost from Dec. 1 fundraiser

By John Howell Sr.

Helping Hands Storehouse plans a December 1 barbecue and auction to raise funds for its ongoing ministry to assist Panola citizens in need, Dr. David Ball said.

The dinner begins at 4 p.m. with the auction following at 6. Items for auction are still being accepted.  It will be held in South Panola High School’s cafeteria on Tiger Drive. Chicken plates are $8 each.

Helping Hands Storehouse traces its origin to a May, 2011 visit to the Batesville Civic Center by the Convoy of Hope, a one-day distribution of food and other assistance to needy families.

“It was a resounding success,” Ball said recently at a meeting of the Batesville Rotary Club, “...but I saw something there that we were not addressing. There were lots of needs, but we gave them a couple of sacks of groceries and a physical exam and whatever and sent them on their way,” he said.

Helping Hands targets help

The ministry effort has honed its target during the last year, the Batesville physician said. “What we are really designed to do is to help people who are in an acute situation.”

“We decided to try to help people who have more significant needs, who are about to lose their house, lose their car, whatever,” he said.

Helping Hands is not in a position to provide ongoing help with monthly bills that exceed income, Ball said.

“We are a Christ-centered organization,” he continued. “When people come to us I talk to them about their relationship with Jesus. They don’t have to be a Christian; it doesn’t matter. We help people that aren’t.”

“We ask for a recommendation from a church pastor,” the Helping Hands Storehouse spokesman said. “I try to link these people to get them involved.”

“We don’t give anybody money, ... we will pay a bill; we will pay their rent; we will pay to have their car fixed,” Ball said.

 Community service asked

Further, Helping Hands asks those who receive help to perform community service in return. “We don’t sit there and monitor dollar for dollar,” he explained. “We want to be sure that they understand that this is not a handout; we’re here to help you, but in return we want you  to help somebody else along the way.”

The community service can involve work at the Helping Hand Storehouse facility on Highway 6 West or work organized by sponsoring pastors.

The organization rarely provides repeat help. “We’re operating under the guideline that we’re to help somebody in a crisis; what we do is try to get them out of that,” he said. “We just don’t have the resources to come back; we’ve got enough people that we haven’t helped, that want help.”

Responding to a question, he said that Helping Hands Storehouse receives from seven to 12 requests for help each month. No money is given directly to recipients, he said.

“There are a lot of needs in this county,” Ball said. Monetary donations are needed most, since that gift can easily be converted to meet a number of needs.

Other gifts of household items, clothes and even old vehicles can be utilized, he said.

For the December 1 auction at the South Panola High School cafeteria, Helping Hands is seeking items that can be auctioned for cash.

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