HELP Centers to reopen next week



FLINT – The HELP Centers have been a trusted resource for Flint residents over the past year and a half. The project began in response to the Flint water crisis to help residents with food, water, mental and physical health services all at one location. The model has proven to be a great resource to residents and is shifting to a one day a week model with the HELP Center reopening next week to support additional services at each location.

Residents can find support with resources from community partners at the HELP Center days, once a week, at the three locations starting April 16, 2018. Partners include: City of Flint, CORE, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Genesee County Health Department, Genesee Health System, Greater Flint Health Coalition, Habitat for Humanity, Hamilton Community Health Network, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development, Mott Community College Workforce Development, United Way of Genesee County, Valley Area Agency of Aging and others. They will offer a variety of services at each location to continue helping Flint residents in recovery.

A majority of partners will be available each time the HELP Center is open and others will participate on new Super Service Day that will be featured once a month, rotating between HELP Center locations. Help is also available throughout the City with local pantries and organizations providing a variety of services. The Food Bank’s website lists all mobile and nutrition truck distributions as well as points throughout the City for food pantries and soup kitchens. Residents can also connect to additional resources, by calling 211 or by visiting www.FlintCares.com.

The HELP Centers will provide food, water-related supplies including filter cartridges and water when available, educational opportunities, on-site enrollment for health and basic-needs services, employment resources, mental and physical health options and other community resource information. The collaboration offers a variety of services at each location each and every week to help connect residents to resources. All services are free and available to everyone – there is no income requirement.

Three churches will continue as gracious hosts for the HELP Centers and multiple other community projects providing support. They will continue as HELP Centers with the new, one day per week model starting the week of April 16. The locations and days of the week are listed below and hours will be from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. or later, depending on service providers available with mobile health units and various additional offerings on select days:

MONDAY at Bethel United Methodist Church – 1309 N. Ballenger Highway

TUESDAY at Asbury United Methodist Church – 1653 Davison Road

THURSDAY at Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ – 6702 N. Dort Highway

Flint families may get nutritious food that can limit the effects of lead exposure at the HELP Centers with a mobile food pantry that is also offered at locations throughout Flint. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint and MDHHS partner on the mobile food pantry distributions to make available foods rich in calcium, vitamin C and iron.

The HELP Center project was community driven as a response to the water crisis and started by the Resource Recovery Workgroup of FACT in October of 2016. Multiple funders supported the HELP Center project during the first year and a half including: C.S. Mott Foundation, MDHHS, PepsiCo Foundation, United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee County along with support for staffing through GST Michigan Works! with a grant through the U.S. Department of Labor.

As the Department of Labor grant has ended, the new model will be supported by each host church in conjunction with community partners and volunteers.

Details: Email rdawson@genhs.org or by phone at 810-610-2526. – G.G.


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