How Do Churches Help Families in Need?

by Jody Wilber

Families having a tough time can turn to several outside sources for help in their time of need. One of these resources is a local church. Churches have the reputation of desiring to help those in need and supplying outreach programs. Churches can help struggling families by providing monetary, emotional and social support.

Providing Counseling

Many pastors provide counseling services to church members and members of the community. If a church is not able to provide a counselor from its staff, a member of the staff will often give out names and numbers of preferred counselors. Churches often help pay for the counseling for families in need if the family should choose one of these referrals. Some of these counselors also donate time to the church. Whatever your emotional need may be, a church will be able to at least point you in the right direction.

Providing Monetary Support

Churches usually have a benevolent fund. This fund takes a portion of the offering and places it in a separate account to help families and individuals with financial needs. Churches often help pay rent or mortgage payments to keep a family in a home. They also use this fund to provide groceries and to pay utility bills for needy families. Churches often set up food banks or storehouses where those in need can get food for their families.

Providing Outreach

Sometimes a needy family may need more than just monetary help. Several different means can define a need. In some cases a need may be socialization, support and outreach from others. Churches often provide activities for whole neighborhoods to enjoy. One example is Trunk or Treat, where churches put together Halloween for the kids of the church and the neighborhood. Instead of the kids going out in their neighborhoods and trick or treating, volunteers decorate the trunks of their cars and fill the trunks with candy to hand out to the kids. Churches often plan events for the adults such as retreats, breakfasts and luncheons. Churches also sometimes offer 12 step recovery programs as well as classes on restoring marriage, keeping a family together and being financially responsible.

Day Care and Babysitting

Many churches have babysitting services or a complete day care. Some of these day cares are completely self-sufficient, housed at the church but not associated with the church. However, most are related to the church with which they are associated. In that case, the church or day care often provide free or reduced cost day care for financially needy families, allowing the parents to work.

About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Jody Wilber has been freelance writing since 2004. Her articles have appeared in "Christianity Today," "The Upper Room" and "The Review Journal." She is formally a high-school English and journalism teacher. She graduated from California Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and went on to achieve her Master in Education from Sierra Nevada College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images