By: Kyle Berube
High Point, N.C. – To the residents of High Point, North Carolina, the issue of poverty is one of both prevalence and high debate. Stemming way back before the housing bubble burst of the mid-2000s, residents of the small city have felt severe economic pain, as many of the city’s furniture businesses fled to foreign production.
Several nonprofits in the greater High Point area have developed out of a necessity to aid many of the city’s problems. Places like the Greater High Point Food Alliance, the YMCA of High Point, and Open Door Ministries have all developed to answer the needs of the city’s plethora of issues.
The YMCA of High Point
With early beginnings in 1923, High Point’s branches of the YMCA have grown to include four locations, serving over 15,000 community members. One of their strongest forms of service provided to High Point, is their child services department. From aftercare to babysitting and education, they focus the most on taking care of future generations.
Carlvena Foster, executive director of the Carl Chavis branch of the YMCA, says her main goal has always been the children. “For me it is about the kids,” she said. “If I can inspire and support them, then I know I’m where I need to be.”
Their aftercare programs pull in many aids, a lot of which are High Point University students. “They come over and are on board with our mission,” Foster said. “They just care about taking care of the children.” She says it is beautiful to see how the community loves to come together to make sure that children are taken care of.
Watch – The YMCA photo story of working with children.
Open Door Ministries
The mission statement of Open Door Ministries is to, “Serve, empower, and assist, the community of High Point to end hunger and homelessness through advocacy, education, housing, and coordination services.” At least that is according to Leslie Graham, the director of development and donor services at Open Door Ministries.
Established in 1995, out of a merger between High Point Urban Ministry and Open Door Shelter, it works to provide relief to the community of High Point in a number of ways. They provide emergency assistance to families in need, food services to the homeless, transitional services to those seeking employment and housing, a shelter to men in need, and permanent supportive housing assistance to those in need.
Graham has been working with Open Door Ministries since the economy crashed in the mid-2000s. Prior to that, she was a Realtor in High Point. She saw the downturn as an opportunity to use all of her connections to give back to those who were less fortunate. “Some people have been through the worst, dealt a bad hand,” Graham said. “It is up to people like us to help and make sure that they can see the light on the other side of the dark time.”
While they receive funding from the city council, as many nonprofits in High Point do, much of their work comes from volunteers. So much so that on occasion they have too much help.
Graham said that so many HPU students are interested in giving back, they don’t have enough work for everyone to do. She is often in awe of how much students, who have been given such fortunate lives, are willing and able to make others’ lives better. “High tides rise all ships,” she said, “and that’s what I love about all of our volunteers.”
Survey – Nonprofits in High Point
The Greater High Point Food Alliance
Just a baby as far as nonprofits go, it does not even have official status yet, The Greater High Point Food Alliance is being built to tackle the cities latest buzz issue: food insecurity. High Point consistently floats between the top two spots as far as cities with the greatest percentage of food insecurity, as well as the largest number of food deserts in one area.
High Point University professor, Reverend Doctor Joe Blosser, assistant professor of religion and philosophy, is one of the many concerned High Point residents leading this battle against hunger. “We look at how much we have, and we just have to give it back to those who can’t get it for themselves,” he said. Through summits and meetings he wants to bring together those who are in need, and those who can help, in order to reach a solution against hunger in High Point. It’s out of the synthesis of ideas that the real change will occur.
“This can’t just be a top down solution, or vice-versa, we have to be able to meet in the middle and find an answer that makes everyone’s lives better,” Blosser said. With a board that includes everyone from journalists, doctors, professors, and businessmen, the GHPFA seeks to take answers from everywhere to fix the issue.
Look – an info-graphic on food hunger in High Point.
Building a better tomorrow
The main message of each of the aforementioned organizations is just to get involved. In whatever capacity you can manage, from donating food to offering up time or money, Dr. Blosser, Mrs. Graham, and Mrs. Foster all stress doing whatever you can to make High Points citizens better off then they were before.
For More Information
The Greater High Point Food Alliance website.
The website for the YMCA of Greater High Point.
Learn more on the website of Open Door Ministries.