With poverty levels reaching over 12 percent in Meridian Township, according to the U.S. census bureau, Meridian Cares seeks to help those in need to provide a strong sense of community. Meridian Cares helps approximately 500 families annually according to its website.
Meridian Cares benefits the fund used by the Community Resources Commission to assist Meridian Township residents facing a financial crisis, such as a utility shut off or eviction. That funding is used throughout the year as a last resort safety net, to try to help ensure that residents don’t face further crisis, like hunger or homelessness.
“I recently assisted a household in which the parent had to take time off work due to illness, reduced paychecks, could not afford rent, and was facing eviction”, said Jackson.
“Through funds raised by Meridian Cares, matched with funding from the Michigan Department of Human Services, churches and another nonprofit, we were able to keep the household from being evicted”, said Darla Jackson, human services specialist.
Jackson, is in charge of overseeing donations given to Meridian Cares as well as tasks that include seeking donations and visiting/evaluating those in need.
The vast majority of the funding is used to avoid utilities from being shut off or to prevent evictions, but other uses have included medications and bus passes.
Meridian Cares relies solely on donations. Staff funding comes from a millage that also funds the senior center and a portion of the parks and recreation department.
There are guidelines that are used for spending and funding raised through Meridian Cares. Households can only receive assistance once in a 12-month period and recipients have to be able to pay their expenses in subsequent months.
To donate or become a sponsor, visit the Meridian Township donation website.