H.E.L.P.S. Ministry asks City Council for funding assistance

By Ryne Turke on October 12, 2016 at 7:45am

A Jacksonville not-for-profit organization in dire need of funding is in jeopardy of shutting down.

That’s the message that H.E.L.P.S. Ministry Outreach Coordinator Kathleen Finkle extended to aldermen during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The Jacksonville organization, dedicated to feeding, clothing and educating families in need, has been hit hard in 2016 with big budget cuts and a lack of state funding.

Finkle says H.E.L.P.S. is receiving $16-18 thousand less this year from local organizations, a funding source H.E.L.P.S. relies heavily on.

Money may be tight for H.E.L.P.S., but services within the organization are on the rise.

After assisting 1,064 babies, feeding 4,884 people and supplying more than 160 beds in 2015, H.E.L.P.S. has added a program supporting families with special needs children.

Mayor Andy Ezard acknowledged that H.E.L.P.S. Ministry works extremely hard with citizens in the community, but knows a lot of non-profits are going through similar situations.

“Once you go down that road to help one not-for-profit, then a lot of others will come and ask. I think the City Council…on a personal level, if they can help out they will. As far as a city direction, we are really going to have to think about that,” says Ezard.

Finkle would like to see H.E.L.P.S. add a dumpster at the 238 West State Street location and 1-800 phone service for the organization established in the near future.

In other action last night, aldermen agreed on a two-percent salary increase for city officials, but not everyone was on board. The vote passed 7-3, with Don Cook, Bill Scott, Jeff Hopkins, Tony Williams, Lori Large-Oldenettel, Mike Wankel and Aaron Scott approving the ordinance.

Marcy Patterson, Travis Richardson and Steve Warmowski voted against the ordinance.

The pay for aldermen will increase from $250 to $300 a month.