By Justin Lofton

Staff Writer

ADA—Ada Area Ministerial Alliance members are planning a community assistance meeting to discuss coordinating efforts to help unemployed and/or impoverished area residents.

“The Ministerial Alliance would like to begin to work together more as churches and work together with agencies and social services to try to better meet the needs of the poor, hungry and homeless,” said Kenneth E. Angel, pastor of Abba’s House.

Angel said the alliance includes 70 local churches and a meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church to discuss how to address the issue.

“Some of our churches have food banks, some of them have clothing ministries and some of them will do utilities assistance or other types of services,” Angel said.

He said Ada also has several agencies helping in this area.

“The whole goal is to get everybody at the same table,” First Presbyterian Church Pastor David McCann said.  “Let’s see who’s doing what and get a list of resources that are available.”

Initially, Angel and McCann said the alliance would put together a comprehensive list of services offered by the churches and other area agencies.  This list would be distributed to the churches involved in the alliance.

Angel and McCann said they would ideally like to see a central clearing house to help coordinate the efforts of the churches and agencies.

“We do want to be good stewards.  We want to help but not overhelp,” Angel said.  “We all know there are people who abuse the system or take advantage of the system.  We want to help the people who really need help and provide the services they need.”

At the first meeting, Angel said he hopes to come up with the comprehensive list of services offered.  He said he wants the alliance to continue meeting and addressing the issue of poverty in the area.

“We have two major objectives.  The immediate one is finding out all the help being provided and coordinating that through a central clearing house,” McCann said.  “The long term objective is helping to build a bridge for people to get out of poverty.  It doesn’t help them if all we do is pay their utility bills and give them food and clothing every month if they’re not able to get the education or job skills they need to get a job.  Ultimately, we want to help them get on their feet so they can become self-sufficient.”

For more information, contact Angel at (580) 332-2744 or McCann at (580) 332-3073.

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