GREENVILLE — Doug Klinsing, president of the Darke County Community Unity since November 2015, believes that the organization is the best kept secret in Darke County.
He has been working with the organization for a little over a year and still is amazed that people have never heard of it. Yet, Community Unity continues to do what it’s always done…helping others in need.
Klinsing, a retired pastor of the local Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, said Community Unity began in 1990 in Darke County.
“It was initiated by a couple of people from the EUM Church,” he said. “It became totally independent from the EUM, and now we’re interdenominational.”
Community Unity, located in the basement of Greenville Resurrection Community Center (GRCC) on Boston Street, receives clients seeking financial assistance on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and on Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m.
“Everyday one of our volunteers comes in to the office and checks the phone to see if anyone is in need of assistance,” he said. “And, we return the calls and make appointments for them.”
According to Klinsing, Community Unity provides assistance with utilities, rent and cost of medications; and gives gasoline cards for medical appointments and for people beginning jobs.
“We can pay all utility costs, with one exception, a pledge from us so we can deal with a need they have on the day or hour we see the client,” he said.
Klinsing went on, “We will provide lodging for people waiting to get into their apartments,” he added. “They are usually homeless, and we provide up to one week of lodging, with arrangements with both motels: Stardust and Townhouse.”
Community Unity is totally volunteer. In addition to him being president, he is also treasurer. Jim Morehouse, the former president, is now vice president, and Mary Folkerth is treasurer. Others include Dot Cain, Dave Long, Pete Grilliot and Marilyn Smith.
There are a total of nine volunteers, receiving clients or answering phones, he said. And, he said they could use more.
“Last year, we helped 328 households, or 1,230 people, and gave out $23,011.62 for clients’ assistance,” he said. “That’s up a little bit from prior years. We help approximately 300 households yearly.”
Where does Community Unity gets its money?
“God has blessed us with donations to such an extent we’re able to help more,” he said. “Community Unity has been a well-kept secret. Six people this year had never heard of it before, and they hear about it by word of mouth. It’s great being in the GRCC building. Needy people come here for lunch.”
Money, he said, comes from individuals, at least 10 churches, United Way and one-fourth of it comes from the Community Christmas Drive held every year.
Anybody from Darke County is eligible to receive assistance.
When Community Unity first began, it handled food and did so until three years ago when it moved to the the Boston Street site and turned that part of the operation over to the food pantry to Community Unity.
“We work with other help agencies, and closest with NexStep, which also helps with utilities,” he said. “We offer our clients, and are beginning to push, budget counseling to everyone who comes now. It’s optional, but we request counseling for those who come three times in a row every six months. Clients can come in once every six months to receive help from us. We also try to pray with every single client that comes in.”
Klinsing, who pastored the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church for 12 years, not only volunteers at Community Unity but he also serves at the YMCA as chaplain two days a week, chaplain at Wayne HealthCare two days a week and is chaplain at Rest Haven Nursing Home.
Those interested in seeking assistance or volunteering with the group can all the office at 547-1156 or Klinsing personally at 937-621-1952.
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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