LAURINBURG — For the Scotland County Concerned Citizens for the Rehabilitation of the Homeless, it isn’t about giving a hand-out but rather a hand-up with the support people need to get back on their feet.
The CCH was started in 1990 by five concerned Scotland County residents and is a non-profit charity that relies on private donations rather than state or federal funding. The organization also runs a thrift store, the Helping Hand, where all the money made goes straight back into the CCH mission.
“You have to work, you have to save your money and you definitely have to pay back your debts in the community,” said CCH Executive Director Josie Harrill.
CCH has two houses in operation, one that houses men and one that houses women, which allow those who cannot afford a place to live an opportunity to work and save up money so they can find a place to live when they graduatefrom the program. The organization has a 75-percent success rate, with many returning to society as self-sufficient residents. One of the requirements is to work two hours a week in the thrift shop.
“We’re here to make you a productive citizen and to make yourself move up,” Harrill said. “Don’t look at your past, everyone has a past but we want you to look forward to your future.”
While the CCH does try to help as many people as they can sometimes they are unable to. When they are unable to help they’ll refer them to other organizations such as Church Community Services. Harrill estimates that, in total, CCH has assisted around 5,000 families and have housed around 600 people since starting.
The Helping Hand started in 1998 and solely funds the mission of the CCH as well as being run completely by volunteers. The 25 to 30 volunteers not only help operate the store but also sort through and separate the items donated, which is everything from clothes to home-goods to children’s toys.
“It is a good organization but our mission is more than the eight clients that live in our house,” Harrill said. “Our mission is for our community too. We clothe a lot of children in Scotland County free of charge through the Helping Hand store.”
Besides helping children in Scotland County many times families who have lost everything in a fire or another disaster will be clothed for free as a way to help.
“We’re here to help the community,” Harrill said. “Anyone can get down and out and sometimes you just need someone to believe in you that you can do it.”
The Helping Hand will take anything but large pieces of furniture. Anything they can’t use is sent on a recycle truck and taken to Third World countries.
“Nothing is just put in a landfill,” Harrill said. “It’s sent for other people to use.”
According to Harrill, it’s because of the store that the CCH doesn’t have to rely on government funding since everything the store makes goes back to the mission as well as the private donations.
The CCH is always looking for volunteers to help with the Helping Hand. For anyone interested in volunteering, call 910-276-8420.
The store is located at 130 Biggs St. in Laurinburg and is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]