“Jane” is a young woman with a preteen son who escaped a violent relationship in 2011. She found work in a McKinney restaurant and was living off of a meager wage, but had no car. After a medical condition required her to take a leave of absence from work, Jane found herself with her back against the wall. She needed money for rent, utilities, food and a new way to support herself and her son. In desperation, she turned to Community Lifeline Center (CLC), and after reviewing her case, CLC was able to assist with one month’s rent and utility costs, provided a box fan, gave her training and budgeting tips and helped her create a resume.

Staff from CLC ran into Jane again months later when they moved into their new location. Coincidentally, Jane worked for the same cleaning company that CLC hired for their new facility. Jaymie Pedigo, CLC Development Director says, “She was so thankful and expressed such gratefulness for CLC’s help. While we only helped Jane for a short time, her life is now in a better place. She owns a car, has her own apartment, is up to date on her bills, and can support her family. Jane is what we hope for all of our clients — self-sufficient.”

Volunteers and staff for the Community Lifeline Center.

Photos courtesy of CLC

Volunteers and staff for the Community Lifeline Center.

In the course of life, we all experience occasional hardships. Whether it’s company downsizing, illness, a family crisis or economic changes, unexpected events can become overwhelming, devastating the lives of our neighbors, friends, loved ones, or even our own. Thankfully, Community Lifeline Center is here to offer help and hope — providing local residents assistance to manage short-term crises and help them navigate their way back to self-reliance.

Community Lifeline Center began in 1989 when a group of North Texas churches determined it was better to work together to support and meet the needs of the community rather than working individually. Though CLC has evolved and grown over the years, its original purpose remains the same: being the premiere place for providing assistance, information, and referral services for residents of McKinney and northern Collin County.

 

Pedigo explains, “Throughout our area, people are hurting and sometimes one needs a helping hand. CLC exists to support our community; offer assistance to those in a short-term crisis and help them continue to live productive lives. CLC does not assist the chronically unemployed or those who aren’t making an effort to help themselves. Instead, our goal is to help our clients return to self-sufficiency.”

The donor tree greets visitors in the lobby of the Community Lifeline Center.

The donor tree greets visitors in the lobby of the Community Lifeline Center.

Community Lifeline Center’s assistance comes in many forms. Whether it is through financial help, such as housing, utilities, food or through medical or prescription assistance, CLC offers numerous ways to help the community. The organization provides life and job skill classes, computer technology classes, credit counseling services and job-seeker support, resulting in longer-term financial stability for families and individuals. The Job Seeker Support classes are offered twice a month, providing assistance with resume writing and editing, mock interviewing and networking connection services.

CLC also established the Collin County Veterans Coalition which is dedicated solely to address veterans’ needs. This group of service providers and volunteers work to identify, inform and support veterans and their families through education, networking and collaboration. The coalition’s top priority is to raise awareness about the services that are available to veterans and to identify what needs are not being met within Collin County.

In addition, CLC promotes special projects throughout the year, such as collecting and distributing box fans, portable heaters and holiday meals for its recipients. Pedigo notes, “At CLC, we would never keep an individual from being helped. If someone doesn’t qualify for our assistance, we provide referrals to other organizations that may be able to offer other services. We like to say no one leaves our offices empty handed.”

 
Trinity Presbyterian Church participates each year in a Thanksgiving food drive for Community Lifeline Center families.

Trinity Presbyterian Church participates each year in a Thanksgiving food drive for Community Lifeline Center families.

Because summer is particularly difficult for many families, CLC works with the City of McKinney to provide programs and resources for children. Delphia Adeogun, CLC Case Manager adds, “We know kids are home during the summer, eating more food, and watching more television. Overall, many household bills increase, causing budgets to become tighter and tighter and leaving fewer opportunities for kids’ extracurricular activities. The City of McKinney is now offering a $100 per child scholarship for qualifying families, and CLC is helping to facilitate this program by gathering information from the client and passing it along to the City. We are excited to help families get outside, get involved and spend time enjoying these programs.”

As a non-profit organization, CLC is always accepting various forms of help, ensuring the success of their mission. Donations of money, supplies, food, services, and time are essential to CLC and are always welcome. “While we never offer money directly to our clients, CLC uses cash donations to assist clients in paying their housing or utility bills, as well as pay our own bills and retain our staff, allowing us to continue serving the community. We are currently accepting volunteers to serve as Intake Room Attendants, helping clients complete the application process; or as a Receptionist/ Information Specialist, providing information about our eligibility requirements, services, referrals and other resources.

Leadership McKinney adopted Community Lifeline Center for it’s Make a Difference Day project last October. Part of the class re-furbished the courtyard at CLC.

Leadership McKinney adopted Community Lifeline Center for it’s Make a Difference Day project last October. Part of the class refurbished the courtyard at CLC.

With more children at home during the summer months, we are currently in urgent need of breakfast items, such as cereal bars, shelf stable milk products, canned fruit and peanut butter. These items help our families immensely, bringing peace of mind to many overworked, weary parents.” says Pedigo.

The Community Lifeline Center brings hope and help. They take a load off of their clients’ shoulders, giving them a chance to breathe and a chance to collect their thoughts. They find joy in helping those experiencing difficult times see light at the end of the tunnel.

 

About the author: Carolyn Cameron is a freelance writer and marketing/social media professional. However, her most important job continues to be a wife to her husband and mom to three growing boys.