It is a bitterly cold day, this first day of the January Giveaway. But the first people to arrive (aside from Johnny Webb, the pastor from Kingdom Vision, who is always here bright and early) before 9 a.m. is John Smith from the Community Outreach Partnership of Bedford County. It’s a brand new organization and Mr. Smith and a few colleagues have come to see if CRC would be of use to them. It took them about five minutes to realize that we could offer a lot of help.

COPBC has a building, but that’s about it. They need everything – chairs, tables, file cabinets, you name it. We are all about office furniture and today we hooked them up with a lot of office chairs.

The idea behind COPBC is a good one. Amass all the services offered by various Bedford County charities under one umbrella organization. COPBC offers grant writing, fund raising, employment training, a database of every service offered in Bedford County and fraud protection. This last one is what got my attention the most. In Bedford County, as in most places these days, shysters can go from one agency to the next asking for the same thing whether it be food, clothing or rent money. None of the agencies may know that these same peopleĀ  have been helped multiple times with no assurance they’re actually needy. Obviously, that drains resources from people who are really in need.

If you think this kind of thing isn’t a problem, let me tell you it is. We once found items donated to CRC for the needy in a yard sale in Columbia.

So COPBC has distributed flyers to churches and other nonprofit agencies directing those who ask for help to come to COPBC, which will aggregate all the charitable resources and distribute them. One flyer. If the same guy shows up more than once, he’s busted. Not really, but you get the picture.

So, the God boxes. I asked John how COPBC is raising money. Coffee can by coffee can. They take coffee cans labeled “God boxes” to churches, businesses and any place else that might bring a contribution. In these times, people may not be able to write a big check, but they can throw a dollar or two in a God box. Those dollars are starting to add up. And John Smith is going to make sure they get spent in the most equitable way.

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