COLUMBIA - The Crossing shared Sunday that they raised $674,121 in a 12 day fundraiser. The church announced on Easter Sunday their goal to raise $400,000 to help those struggling financially in the community.
“Our congregation has always wanted to give back to the community,” The Crossing’s pastor Keith Simon said.
He said their congregation is aware of the pandemic’s impact on families who may have already been struggling.
“Utilities are pretty basic,” Simon said. “If you don’t have utilities, it’s hard to live, you might get evicted, it’s hard to do homework if you have kids.”
He said the church’s goal was to target that need in the community and give back in any way they could.
The funds will be split in three different ways, all working toward short-term and long-term financial relief for those in need.
According to Simon, $202,744.26 was used to eliminate the utility disconnect list in Columbia. $197,225.74 will be put toward paying off utility debt for those just one step away from being disconnected. The remaining $274,121 will be used for long-term aid to people in similar financial situations through Love Columbia, a local non-profit.
The money was raised primarily through text message and drop-off check donations. Simon said they were blown away by how much money they were able to collect. He said he hopes to put use this money as a short-term and long-term investment in Columbia families.
“We were able to balance short-term emergency needed help right now with some long-term help,” Simon said. “That hopefully will set people up for a better future.”
Love Columbia works alongside people in the community who are struggling to cover basic needs or create a path forward to a sustainable life. The Crossing chose to provide Love Columbia with more than a third of the funds they raised.
“We like to say we’re the ‘welcome center’ at the intersection of needs and resources,” Love Columbia director and co-founder Jane Williams said.
“We bring in community resources through the use of many volunteers and the gifts that people give in the community and want to share,” she said. The organization works to provide a range of services to people are in often very complicated and difficult financial situations.
“So far this year we’ve had 996 calls for assistance, 561 of those are related to some kind of housing need,” Williams said. “I can’t imagine today, the relief on so many people’s minds and hearts just knowing that their lights are going to stay on.”
Simon said he wants to create an environment where everybody helps each other out. “We look out for people on the Margins, who are overlooked, who are struggling,” he said. “We can live in a community that looks out for one another, so if we can be, at The Crossing, part of that then that’s fantastic.”