South Central Alliance of Churches offers 'help and hope'

By Brooke Boren

Nine churches in the 76104, 76109, and 76110 zip codes make up the Fort Worth South Central Alliance of Churches (SCAC) and offer assistance to the local community.
The SCAC began 20 years ago in an effort to help people in emergency situations, like unexpected unemployment or loss of government assistance. The association offers three types of assistance: financial, transportation and self-preservation. Their motto is “offering help and hope to those in need in our community.”
“We try to honor that in the name of Jesus Christ,” program director Opel Smith said. “You don’t have to be religious or anything like that if you want to donate or come volunteer. We don’t push that on anyone, but we are under the umbrella of a faith-based type of organization.”
The SCAC provides prescription fills through John Peter Smith Hospital (excluding narcotics and pain pills), formula, diapers, food, clothing, gas cards, bus vouchers, light counseling and more. Those eligible for services are residents of the 76104, 76109, or 76110 zip code or anyone who can prove help is needed.
Residents will be eligible for aid if “within the last 60 days, some type of financial crisis had occurred that caused you to not be able to pay your total rent or total utilities, then that’s what we will try to verify all of that information as to what your situation is,” Smith said.
Smith was once a client of the services she now provides, due to a medical issue five years ago.
“To hold that position to be able to bless someone else is a blessing to me,” Smith said. “It’s such a self-rewarding thing when you can give something from yourself to someone else and it’s going to benefit them.”
The SCAC receives no funding from the government, relying on donations alone. Everything offered is donated from the churches that are part of the alliance.
“We really are working on a small budget right now, but we are able to help whoever we can,” Smith said. “Once we have exhausted all of our resources for that month, then we start taking applications or just let people know we don’t have that service for that month. Hopefully that will change.”
Financial assistance is generally offered once a year, according to the calendar month. After the first time in a year, applications for assistance are reviewed pending a money management class certificate. A third time of assistance is avoided but is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
“Life happens and sometimes you do need that third time,” Smith said. “Our whole goal is to hopefully help you over a one time situation that will keep you stable. We hope to try to help you or brainstorm some type of plan to put in place as to hopefully not be in the situation.”
Smith said that she donates what she can to the association. She encourages others to do the same if it’s something that someone else can benefit from.
“I stick to the motto ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,’” Smith said. “The demographic and the people I see really are in need of these items. Some people go through their stuff and immediately toss them in the trash, and that very item can help someone that’s in a dire situation. The more donations we can get to come in, the more families we can assist.”
Monetary donations are accepted via PayPal on the website or checks mailed to the office located at the Southside Church of Christ. To donate clothing or other material items, call the office at 817-923-0486 to set up a drop-off time.
“It can be however way you want to get it to us,” Smith said. “Like I said, we’ll take it however it comes. I hate to say it, but we will. We’re just not on that level of getting anything from the government, so we’re taking any and all donations just so we can be able to continue to serve the public as much as we can.”
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