In the mid-1970s, the country was wracked by a painful economic recession. Faith community benevolence funds, food pantries and clothing closets were overwhelmed with requests for assistance.
A group of local clergy responded in 1974 with a novel idea: pooling resources to more effectively meet the needs of low-income families in financial crisis in Mecklenburg County.
In April 1975, Crisis Assistance Ministry officially opened in Dilworth United Methodist Church. Its one staff member was Caroline Love Myers, who remained the leader of the agency for 25 years, guiding its steady growth and serving as a strong advocate for people living in poverty in Mecklenburg County. In June 2000, Carol Hardison replaced Caroline as the agency's Executive Director. Since retiring in 2000, Caroline remains passionately committed to those living in poverty.
To help low-income workers save money, a clothing/housewares assistance program was begun in 1978, making Crisis Assistance Ministry the community's hub for receiving and distributing clothing and housewares -- free of charge. In 1989, a Furniture and Appliance Store became part of Crisis Assistance Ministry when a program started by Covenant Presbyterian Church to help families with larger, one-time needs was merged with the agency.
Also, in 1985, Crisis Assistance Ministry was asked by the United Way and Mecklenburg County government to become the community's central location for distribution of emergency financial assistance and basic household items. Today, the agency continues this role by disbursing several local, state and federal emergency funds.
The agency continued to grow over the years, to the point that it needed its own larger facility, moving in 1988 to its present location on Spratt Street, near the intersection of Statesville Avenue and Graham Street, in the shadows of downtown Charlotte.
Our Mission Remains The Same
The mission of Crisis Assistance Ministry is the same today as it was in 1975: to provide assistance and advocacy for people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency. The agency continues to fulfill the vision of its founders by being an efficient, effective way for the community to pool resources and help people who face economic hardship.