Groups join to connect resources for those in need

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:15 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An issue outreach groups have been facing is where to point those in need if they can’t help.

On Tuesday, 98 organizations gathered in the same room with one common goal; getting people the help they need when they need it.

At the Savannah Rapids Pavilion, groups stepped into a room where they say egos went out the door. Each agency had a couple of minutes to speak and explain what they offer. The organizations know this is about building each other up.

“They want to know what resources are available,” said Angela Bakos, executive director and founder of Resource Network. “The givers feel empowered when they have that information, and they can help more people if they do. We can get the same information that’s on the resource list into all of the helper heads and essentially we end up with a network of beneficial caseworkers everywhere.”

Everyone got a ten-page packet with a list of every agency, updated contact information, and exactly what they have to offer. It’s something that Nomi Stanton, executive director at GAP Ministries, says is a big help.

See the list of resources below.

“Our phones at GAP Ministries are ringing off the hook. It’s questions about utility assistance or rental assistance. Things we do not do, but for me, I love to be able to say, ‘Okay, no, we do not do this. But I know the agency that I can send you to,’” said Stanton.

When outdated or wrong information gets out, it impacts those seeking help.

“You want to be able to give somebody, especially someone in crisis, a phone number that doesn’t exist for an agency that has just closed. We don’t know what we don’t know, as one of the helping agencies,” said Stanton. “It’s valuable to be able to surround yourself with other people in the trenches, that can help in a crisis situation, or not even a crisis situation, but know where to send someone where they’re going to get legitimate help. It’s the worst thing when you have someone who has already exhausted every number that they’ve had, they’ve been told to call a number that no longer exists, and organizations close all the time. This whole room with over 300 people is people who know where to send someone. Knowledge is power.”

The number of those in need is growing every day. Now, getting these organizations together and putting the puzzle together to help find the longer-term solution.

Bakos said: “Say your fridge broke, and so you reach out to a church or a food pantry and they say, ‘I don’t know where to send you.’ You may not ask again. You might take that money from your rent or your mortgage, and it’s hard to get caught up. So, it snowballs out of control and then we end up with another homeless family. Our family shelter because it’s full because there’s no more space so we can prevent it. We can stop it right there in its tracks if we can get that information out.”

Bakos says this list will be updated every six months to ensure the right information is out there.