Emergency Services


Christian Outreach Project: The People Behind the Mission

Meet Stephanie, Emergency Services Program Lead

          Stephanie’s relationship with COP started, as many do, with Food Services. When she needed a little help making ends meet, someone suggested she contact Christian Outreach. Stephanie doesn’t remember exactly who gave her the information. “It could have been someone from my church, a neighbor, or even an article in the paper,” she said. Stephanie was asked by the person delivering her food if she might have a few hours available to help out at the COP offices. Stephanie readily agreed, and after just a few hours of training, was making follow-up calls for the Emergency Services Program. Four years later, she is the Program Lead with additional volunteers helping now. The Emergency Services Program provides assistance with electricity, oil, gas, rent and prescriptions. An area Stephanie is interested in adding is assistance with minor car repairs and maintenance.

          Years ago, when Stephanie found herself unexpectedly in the situation of not being able to provide for her young children, she approached Social Services for assistance. Her experience there affected her profoundly. She was treated with disrespect and shamed for her needs. (Now, Social Services is an excellent agency, and the lady with whom Stephanie dealt no longer works there.) “I never want anyone to feel the way I felt,” says Stephanie. “My personal experience has taught me how to speak to and treat others.” As the Emergency Services Lead, Stephanie now partners with the same Social Services Agency to meet the needs of COP clients. But Stephanie’s commitment to treat others with empathy and respect is never far from her mind.

          When asked for a story that illustrated the way in which Emergency Services has assisted clients, Stephanie replied, “There are several thank-you notes on the bulletin board at COP. People are worn down, exhausted, have been through divorce and abuse, and we touch them.” Stephanie recalled one woman who came into COP requesting rent assistance. She told Stephanie and her co-volunteer, Betty, that she was a convicted felon not long out of prison. Stephanie assured her that did not matter, that we all have issues to overcome. The woman was so grateful with being accepted that she began to cry. Being women of faith, Stephanie and Betty asked if they could pray with the woman. They enfolded her in their arms and prayed with her. COP was able to help the woman so that she was not evicted.

          This is just one illustration of how the COP Emergency Services Program has enhanced the life of just one individual. There are many more like it, and we hope to share more with you in the future.