South Shore Mission Steps Up

Kathy Clayton

The Ashland Beacon


   When one community aid organization had to close its location in South Shore, it didn’t take long for the community to step up and fill the gap left behind. “We never really stopped offering help,” said Julinia Robirds. “We got support from everyone.”

   And so the South Shore Mission grew out of the need left behind when Helping Hands of Greenup County had to close the South Shore branch. “The mayor called and told us about this building that was available,” Robirds, the director, said. “She (Mayor Cheryl Moore) actually approached us.”

   “For two weeks, we worked seven days a week, 10 hours a day to get the building ready,” said volunteer Wanda Angel.

   The mission offers groceries, clothing, personal hygiene and household goods to those in need in the northern area of Greenup County. “We help with things people can’t get with food stamps,” she said.

“We really never stopped when the other place closed,” said Charles Mallory, a retired preacher who volunteers at the mission. The mission is currently under the umbrella of Sunshine United Methodist Church, and get help from other churches in the area. “Our goal is to make this a community-based ministry after a year, and come out from under Sunshine, and work with all the churches and the town.” He said the organization serves people who live “basically north of State Route 10, the AA Highway, although that boundary isn’t rock solid. We’ll help anyone in Greenup County.”

   “The community has backed us up 100 percent,” said Angel. “We couldn’t ask for a better little town.” She said the mission is getting more paying customers now that they’re in a store front building on Main Street. “We have buying customers more than ever before. While the mission provides assistance to the needy based on income, anyone can come in and shop the clothing and household goods. The items are free, but the mission accepts donations from customers.

   Mallory said the volunteers had to arrange to get insurance for the building, and stock it with appliances. A local contractor remodeling some apartments donated refrigerators and freezers. He also thanked the Recovery Works organization, an addiction recovery center in the area. “We were able to help them out by giving them coats, and they in turn helped us get established here by helping with the work.”

   Robirds said that some cash donations come in to help with purchasing things that aren’t donated. “If there’s something we need, we have some funds, or we just put it on Facebook and people bring it in. All we have to do is ask.”

   “God was working to help us,” Mallory noted. “We started with nothing.” He also mentioned that the mission is a 501C organization, meaning that it is tax exempt.

   Robirds said the mission has assisted about 15 clients in the first month. Aid is income based. “If they call, we’ll tell them what the need – a driver’s license for ID, proof of income and proof of residency.” People can get assistance once a month. She said the mission has assisted some of the same people who came to the previous organization, but also have had some new ones. “There is a real need here. We’ve had some who aren’t getting food from anywhere.”

   The seven volunteers who were staffing the store last week proudly showed off the well-stocked pantry shelves, refrigerators and freezers. Clothing hung neatly on racks, and shelves around the walls displayed a variety of dishes, pots and pans, and other home goods.

   Robirds said the mission has applied for a partnership with the Huntington Food Bank, which assists many groups in the tri-state that help the hungry. “Right now, what we’re needing most is meat products. We just want people to know that we’re here if anyone needs help or assistance. If there’s been a fire or a disaster, we’re here to help our community. If there’s any need, we’re here.”

   South Shore Mission is located at 426 Main Street in South Shore, just off US 23, and is usually open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. For more information, or to donate to the mission, call 606.932.2005.