Christian Ministry officials broke down the group’s annual budget to the Times-News on Friday, noting that this past holiday season, the organization distributed more $168,000 in food boxes to nearly 750 local families and more than $40,000 in toys to nearly 830 needy children.
The items were purchased using the organization’s annual Christmas Fund money, which exceeded expectations again this year, drawing in more than $110,000 in community donations through just week five of the six-week long project, Executive Director Susan Brymer said. Christian Ministry set its goal at $50,000.
Any additional Christmas Fund money that was not spent on food and toys this year will benefit the organization’s general budget, and a large portion of remaining funds will be used specifically for the LINC home meals program, Brymer said.
While the organization requires more than $1 million in food items each year, its annual budget rests at less than half that amount — $300,000, a third of which is spent in November and December alone.
The organization acquires its remaining funds for the year strictly through donations.
“We couldn’t have asked for the community to be more generous,” Brymer said.
From the minimal budget, Christian Ministry officials utilize the following funds each month: $4,000 (soup kitchen food and supplies), $115,000 (food boxes), $17,250 (food bags) and $5,600 in LINC Meals (part of the emergency services program). The organization also allots money each month to assist in paying certain residents’ bills such as heating, electric and medical bills.
In addition, Brymer said that the LINC home meals program offers meals to paying and non-paying residents, but that more than half the allotted funds cover food costs for individuals who can’t afford the items and need a sponsor to pay for them. The percentage of people who qualify for free LINC meals has risen greatly in the last year, Brymer said.
Christian Ministry also has a nursing home ministry but doesn’t designate a portion of their yearly budget for the program. Instead, the organization relies on local churches to provide.
The budget can be an obstacle at times since organization officials are set on helping everyone in need.
“It’s difficult to manage because we can’t spend money we don’t have,” Brymer said, “and we have to live within our means. We don’t have a choice; we try hard to stick to those budgets for each program.”
She considered 2012 to be a record-breaking year for Christian Ministry with regard to unprecedented numbers, including the high amount of families in need, food items disappearing off pantry shelves and food boxes being delivered across the area, to name a few.
“I have never seen a year so hard and with such great challenges,” Brymer said. “Hopefully, this (year) will be a better year.”
To donate to Christian Ministry, stop by the facility, located at 161 Policarp Road in Lincolnton, or call (704) 732-0383 for more information.
Christmas Fund donors through week five are as follows:
Total: $110, 748.62