The Christian Love Help Center (CLHC) is one of the longest running programs in Henry County for the needy and hungry. The community has rallied around the Christian Love Help Center to build on the success they’ve already had.
The Christian Love Help Center started when Juanita Suggs and her mother, Marjorie Fonzer, brought a family into their home. They fed them and allowed them to stay. Shortly afterwards, Suggs and her mother created the Christian Love Help Center.
The Christian Love Help Center’s programs provide for the most vulnerable people of Henry County. Every Tuesday they offer a warm, home cooked, healthy meal for low income families but they don’t stop with just feeding families on Tuesdays. They’ve opened a Food Pantry and also provide a shelter to the homeless around Henry County.
“My father always told me ministry isn’t started inside the church doors, its outside. It’s about helping those people who don’t show up and still need the help,” said Juanita Suggs, director of the CLHC.
CLHC Tuesday’s hot meals serve up to 300 people and a Thanksgiving meal, prepared the Tuesday before, typically feeds 2,000 people. Many people and groups continue to support the hot meal program. The New Castle Career Center’s culinary class has helped cook Thanksgiving meals and New Castle’s police, sheriff and fire departments deliver Thanksgiving meals directly to people in their homes who are disabled or elderly. Even people who have received a meal during a time of crisis come back to volunteer.
“We have so many volunteers with the Hot Meal Program it’s hard keeping track. There are always new people helping each Tuesday,” said Suggs. CLHC’s partners and its volunteers are what make the programs so successful. “We are very lucky to have such a great supportive community presence, without this community helping a lot, what we do wouldn’t be possible,” said Suggs.
The CLHC Shelter is the only homeless shelter for both men and women in Henry County. The shelter was bought in 1986 to expand on the hot meal program. The house now sleeps around 16 people comfortably but isn’t a walk in shelter, rather families have to apply to stay.
The shelter has made huge strides due to the community. Individuals and churches raised funds for the purchase of the main house. New Castle Career Center’s building trades built an extra building to house more people while Myers Furniture donated furniture and appliances to fully furnish the shelter. The Shelter gives families affordable housing and time to get their feet on the ground.
“You would be surprised the amount one could do, if you just give someone the time of day and the love they need,” said Suggs.
The Christian Love Help Center, located at 418 S. 18th, is a nonprofit organization the Henry County Community Foundation supports. The CLHC has an endowment fund, which pays out to them annually, and has been the recipient of community grants from the Unrestricted Fund. For more information on how to donate to this fund, visit www.henrycountycf.org or call 765-529-2235.