Celebrate Giving Tuesday by supporting the important mission of Faith In Action

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photo courtesy of Unsplash

This year’s Giving Tuesday, which is on November 30, is the first fundraiser event Faith In Action has held to raise funds since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in spring of 2020.

It will be an all-virtual event held on Tuesday, Nov. 30 only. Faith In Action (FIA) is a community funded assistance and resource center with locations in Chelsea and Dexter.

FIA is hoping the community will see their social media posts that day and click to donate, or read their email going out that day as well, and then visit the website to make a donation of any size via the online donation portal, or by reaching out in one of the other ways posted on the website. A printed newsletter about it should be reaching households as well.

Looking ahead to the 30th, Sheri Montoye, Executive Director of Faith In Action, told The Sun Times News, “We know it is not always easy to ask for help, but sometimes in life, asking is exactly what needs to be done,” she said. “We hear some pretty challenging stories, but we try to help everyone who comes to us find a path forward, whether it takes one visit, or many. Everything we do is very confidential and our clients have many choices about how we can help them.”

This one-day event is an important one for FIA and in turn for those they help.

Montoye said they have not been able to hold their annual fundraiser dinner and auction for two years now. She said “fortunately, we received a modest PPP loan early in the pandemic, and grant funds from several of our county partners, plus individuals and businesses have continued to be generous with both food and financial donations so we have been able to provide help to all who asked throughout the pandemic timeframe!”

“That said, this fundraiser is important so we can raise the necessary funds to meet the financial needs of the coming fiscal year budget so that we can provide essential resources for families and households in the area,” said Montoye, looking ahead to the 30th and then beyond.

To understand its importance, it’s good to look back and see how FIA has grown and what it means to the communities it serves.

Faith In Action was started 40 years ago as a literal food and resource closet in the back of St. Barnabus Church for anyone in the area who needed help, according to Montoye.

“Over the years the organization grew to meet the increasing area need and now we offer two free food pantries (one in Chelsea, one in Dexter,) a free clothing room, social workers to help people solve problems, funds for helping with bills, and a shower and laundry for our homeless folks,” Montoye said. “We are open to anyone whose household income falls below 200 percent of what is called the ‘federal poverty level.’ Washtenaw is an expensive county in which to live and be housed, so the average wage earner can really struggle to afford basic necessities sometimes. In general we really try to figure out what people need and connect them with the necessary help.”

For a better understanding of FIA, here are some details to remember:

· FIA serves Chelsea and Dexter school districts with their food pantry and many services, plus extends food pantry access to Scio Farms and the whole Grass Lake zip code

  • They do not require any church affiliation or involvement whatsoever
  • They have their offices and provide other service in Chelsea M-F and a food pantry in Dexter on Wednesday afternoons
  • They have a free seasonal clothing and household items “store” in Chelsea that is open to anyone up to 12 times per year. This store is stocked with donations that people bring all throughout the week.
  • They also have a shower and washer/dryer onsite available to anyone who needs it (free).
  • They have 2 social workers who help people sort out challenging financial situations every day.
  • Staff can help with bills, utility shut off prevention, home repairs, car repairs, medical bills, etc.
  • They have a MI Bridges benefits navigator on staff who can schedule an appointment to help figure out that process.
  • They have several holiday programs available to the eligible households they serve.
  • They can help just one time to help a household get over a financial hump, or for a whole year or more if necessary.
  • They do need a little bit of financial information about the household, but not too much.
  • Everything they do is very confidential.
  • If you come here shopping for food, you get to walk around like a grocery store, or you can choose your food over the phone and get curbside pickup.

On Giving Tuesday, FIA will be sharing a compilation of perspectives and representative photos throughout the day to help give donors and the community a glimpse of what life is like for some of their clients. Montoye said names and stories are changed, but the reality of the stories is true for people in Chelsea, Dexter, and many other communities.

Watch out for the FIA Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to get a glimpse of the challenges people face everyday right here in our otherwise prosperous communities.

You might be surprised by what you learn, Montoye said.

To see the Facebook page go to https://www.facebook.com/FIA.ChelseaDexter/

FIA is on Instagram at @fia_chelseadexter.

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