NMO-UMC partners with various groups throughout Giles County and the New River Valley in serving the the neediest individuals and families in our community.
To thrive is to push beyond survival and into a life where a person can be happy, healthy, and productive. To thrive, NRV residents need reliable access to nutritious, affordable food and the knowledge to make the best nutritional choices for themselves and their families. This means economic as well as educational development, building capacity from farms to food pantries, and uniting our prosperous and burgeoning local food network with the people who can benefit from it the most.
Recent studies show that books in the home is a crucial factor in childhood literacy and is one of the most important indicators of successful outcomes. Open Book for the New River Valley is a community book-sharing project that collects and distributes new and gently used books to needy children and youth in our area. Open Book has been supplying books to Giles Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Children’s Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) programs as well as establish free bookshelves at the Community Health Center of the NRV and Virginia Department of Health offices in Pearisburg, several local laundromats (Narrows & Pembroke), and in the Montgomery County and NRV Regional jails. During the pandemic, Open Book has distributed thousands of books through the school bus feeding programs in Giles and Pulaski Counties. In recent weeks, over 7,000 books were delivered to elementary schools in Martinsville with more deliveries planned. Another 1,000 books were also provided for 200 Head Start children in Patrick and Franklin Counties. Open Book’s Literacy Library located on the second floor of our church. Contact Penny Livesay at (540) 921-2951 or email@example.com to find out how you can help.
The To Our House Winter Shelter program for homeless adults in the New River Valley is in its eleventh sheltering season. Guests are sheltered in churches across the New River Valley for a week or two at a time. During their stay, guests enjoy a hot evening meal, breakfast, and a bag lunch. TOH’s goal is to connect these guests with resources that lead to employment, housing, and personal economic sustainability. Since 2011, TOH volunteers have served over 32,000 meals and sheltered 377 guests, with 137 guests more permanent housing and 96 finding employment. TOH also offers shelter and advocacy for homeless military veterans. TOH is a program of New River Community Action and a United Way partner agency. Find out more by visiting www.ToOurHouse.org or visit TOH on Facebook. Recently, a Homeless Hotline has been established that can be reached 24-hours/day, 365 days/year for anyone finding themselves with no place to stay on a given night. Call (540) 633-5133, option 2, to check the availability of a shelter bed in our community.
The Giles County Christian Service Mission is a non-profit, inter-denominational, outreach ministry that has been serving the neediest Giles County households for over fifty years. The goal of the Mission is to assist families and individuals with chronic needs due to low or fixed incomes and offer emergency assistance for those who have experienced sudden loss of employment or other crisis who meet income guidelines. The work of the Mission is made possible through the generous support of churches, businesses, individuals and community service organizations. The Mission is located at 516 Wenonah Avenue in downtown Pearisburg and is open Monday—Saturday from 10:00 a.m.—2:00 p.m.
Thanks to the generous support of churches, service organizations, businesses, and individuals, in 2020 the Giles County Christian Service Mission:
- Supplied over $32,000 in food to families and individuals in Giles suffering from food insecurity
- Assisted 385 Giles households in need
- Distributed 1,260 Food Boxes to Seniors through the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food program
- Provided Christmas gifts for 275 children and youth through the Angel Tree ministry
- Supplied clothing, household items, and other necessities at a value of $32,786 through the voucher program
- Offered $6,350 in rent, utility, and emergency assistance
A part of the Giles County Christian Service Mission, the new 512 Food Pantry enhances the Mission’s efforts to eliminate food-insecurity in Giles County and increases the nutritional quality of the food items being offered. As a client-choice center, the pantry offers persons in need the opportunity to choose their own food, giving them a sense of dignity and autonomy. This model also offers greater efficiency by eliminating wasted food and allows clients to tailor the assistance they receive to be the best possible fit for their own unique situation. The 512 Food Pantry is located at 512 Wenonah Avenue in downtown Pearisburg. The name of the 512 Food Pantry comes not only from its physical address, but also acknowledges the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand with five loaves, two fish, with twelve baskets left over.
A space has been dedicated in the new 512 Food Pantry at the Giles County Christian Service Mission in Pearisburg to offer personal care items such as shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, deodorant, feminine care items, and soap.
Little Feet Baby & Toddler Shop
The Little Feet Baby & Toddler Shop (211 Main Street, Narrows) offers parents necessary items such as clothing, diapers, shoes, and coats to help meet the needs of their children. Its mission is to promote self-esteem, confidence, and overall general positive character building, while at the same time contributing to meet the basic needs of infants and toddlers. Providing families with a shopping experience that includes making choices as a “preferred customer” promotes a positive experience. The shop is often in need of diapers (all sizes), diaper rash cream, baby wash, and baby lotion. Items can be dropped off in the Fellowship Hall or directly at the store Tuesday—Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Area baby and toddler stores are part of the Children’s Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) of the NRV, a program of New River Community Action. CHIP seeks to build a network of local public/private partnerships to improve the health status of young children in need and to support and enhance their family’s ability to move toward self-sufficiency.
Located at 138 Old Virginia Avenue in Narrows, the Giles County Shelter, also known as the Hope House, provides emergency housing for Giles residents who have lost their home due to fire, flood, eviction, or other housing crisis. With all the comforts of home, the Hope House offers a safe and clean environment for individuals and families trying to rebuild their lives. While residing at the Hope House, assistance is also provided to connect them with supportive services that promote and enhance self-sufficiency and stability. As a duplex, the shelter can house two different family units simultaneously. Look for the Hope House on Facebook. In 2018, the two unites were occupied for 506 days, sheltering a total of 50 guests. Since 2013, the Hope House has sheltered 249 people for a total of 3,769 days. In case of immediate need, contact shelter coordinator David Carico at (540) 599-1290.
There is a great need for foster families in Giles County. When a child comes into foster care and a local home is not available, the child must be placed in a foster home through a private agency. These homes can be scattered across the state. At present, there are foster children placed in Franklin County, Carroll County, Pittsylvania County, etc.
There are many advantages to keeping these children in their home community. Children placed with families in Giles can continue attending their regular school and remain with their friends. This reduces the trauma involved in entering foster care and being removed from their biological family. Additionally, social workers can build a better relationship with the child and provide more support. This can be difficult when a child is placed in a home that is hours away. It is also easier for biological parents to participate in visits with their children and participate in family-centric services when the child is close by. Many biological families do not have transportation and/or the financial means to be able to travel outside of the county.
Becoming a foster parent and providing a child with love and support during a traumatic time is a difficult yet rewarding experience. Former and current foster parents are available to speak with interested individuals to answer questions and share experiences. If you or someone you know is interested in more information about becoming a foster parent, please contact Caryl Allen with the Giles County Children’s Services Act (CSA) at (540) 921-2525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.