CARELink: Opportunities and Benefits

By Roberta Joern, Coordinator of Mission and Outreach

First Lutheran Church

Sometimes there are points in your life that are best left out of conversations, off of your Facebook page, and not written in an email.  We should all know by now that everyone experiences downturns in life: loss of a job, a health challenge, change in an important relationship, and the list goes on.  But what if you can no longer make the rent, pay for your next meal, or even drive to your minimum-wage job?  Then what?

Oftentimes, when something like this happens, people go to local churches to request assistance.  Now, most church offices aren't set up like social agencies that can do proper screening to determine the legitimacy of these requests.  This is where CARELink comes in.  CARELink is an organization composed of Eau Claire area congregations working together to efficiently help those who need assistance.

Administered by the Salvation Army, CARELink consolidates resources from member congregations in order to provide specific types of assistance to clients who are interviewed and whose information is kept in carefully-maintained files.  For thirteen years, CARELink congregations have been able to safely support the program, knowing that their financial support will go to legitimate requests.  Additionally, pastors and church staff are freed from the burden and time commitment of  interviewing those who seek aid and, particularly, those who have been "scamming" the system by approaching multiple congregations for aid in quick succession.

Here are some statistics on CARELink's efforts in 2015:

Year-to-Date Assistance Provided:

  • Gasoline: $1,820.00
  • Lodging: $820.00
  • Rent: $8,322.00
  • Bus fare: $0
  • Utilities: $0

Month of April 2015

  • Clients referred to CARELink: 17
  • Clients receiving assistance via CARELink funds: 70 (includes prior referrals)
  • Clients receiving assistance via other funds: 0
  • Clients referred to other agencies: 4

While these statistics don't tell the entire story, they give you an idea of the current need in our community.  Please keep in mind that the type of assistance that CARELink provides often keeps individuals and families in their homes,  acting as a safety net for the most at-risk among us.  When you take into account how expensive it is to recover once one becomes homeless, you can begin to see what a sound investment CARELink is for First Lutheran, for our community, but particularly for those who receive their assistance.  Thank you for YOUR support!