Faith in Action has only two employees, Paul plus a full-time social worker. "But we also have between forty and fifty volunteers at any one time that are worth about three or four full-time equivalents," Paul says. Nearly half their money comes from their own fund-raising, a third comes from community organizations, particularly the United Way, and the rest comes from local churches.
"It's a definite 'loaves and fishes' situation," Paul says. "We're serving quadruple the number of people, but we haven't quadrupled our funding. So much of what we get is in in-kind donations--food and clothing mostly. And the checks are coming in. The future for us looks as good as what comes in the door and what comes in the door is tremendous. We can still help 99 percent of the people who come to us."
Times were already bad in the south of the county, says Aid in Milan director Nina Pemberton. The recession made them worse. "We've had much more demand for services," she says. "We encourage people to come in before they shut off the utilities. But some people have never had contact with an agency before, and they don't know we exist until they've been shut off.