RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Anyone can fall on hard times, sometimes when they least expect it. There is a group ready with a helping hand.
“Can I help volunteer to help give back?” Linda Lhommedieu asks. She is ready to pay it forward. Lhommedieu is so grateful to CCHASM for getting her back on her feet.
“They have been extremely helpful,” says Lhommedieu, who lives in Chesterfield.
CCHASM stands for Chesterfield Colonial Heights Alliance for Social Ministry. It formed in 1998 when churches banded together to help meet growing needs in the community. At first they started offering assistance in Chesterfield and Colonial Heights. Their reach then expanded to Dinwiddie, Hopewell and Prince George.
“I know in the past year we’ve given over a million dollars in help,” explains Lynne Foote, who has been a board member with CCHASM for ten years. “We have 25 food pantries that we help folks with.”
Food pantries are just a part of it. CCHASM gives financial assistance to clients like Lhommedieu who needed help with rent when her seasonal job ended. Last year a career clothing closet also served 211 women.
“Those women who are trying to get back in the workforce and just don’t have the money to spend on clothes,” Foote describes the average woman who the closet helps. “We give them seven outfits so when they go to work they’ll be dressed appropriately.”
It’s only March, but plans are already in the works for Thanksgiving when CCHASM volunteers will pack and distribute more than 8,000 meals. Lhommedieu says this outreach is only a small fraction of the reason CCHASM is so special.
“They always try to accommodate me,” she says. “They’re always working with me trying to help me get things sorted out. They’re just really nice.”
CCHASM is always looking for volunteers and donations. This month and next it is holding Walk in their Shoes, a fundraiser that combines being active with bringing in money for its programs. Follow this link for more information.