Interchurch Social Services of Knox County provided recorded services in 11,412 cases during
2017, according to a report presented recently to the Board of Directors. Year-end totals for the
four branches of ISS by services provided, based on available resources are:
Branch Pantry Utilities Housing Medical Gasoline I&R* Misc. Total
Centerburg 507 66 16 6 25 108 679 1,407
Danville 883 139 16 8 44 14 14 1,118
Fredericktown 537 96 33 5 33 69 6 1,316
Mt. Vernon 4,979 311 135 42 124 1,312 688 7,571
The agency provides the following services in Centerburg, Danville, Fredericktown and Mount
Vernon to Knox County residents.
Clothing Assistance – a complete outfit is provided for each individual or family
member once every month. When available, coats, boots, hats, and gloves are also
Food Pantry – A variety of food is available once every 30 days. Individuals and
families receive the basic ingredients for 3 meals for 3 days, a total of 9 meals.
Snacks and taxable items, such as soap, laundry detergent, and toilet paper, are also
included. All locations are Customer Choice Pantries, meaning that families can
choose what foods their family will eat. See chart above for the number of clients in
each branch for food pantry utilization.
Financial Aid/Discretionary Fund – Assistance is available twice a year for those with
disconnect notices on utilities. Rent and deposit assistance is also available. We
also provide assistance with prescription costs, with the exception of pain
medications, and gasoline vouchers for out-of- county medical appointments.
Prescription assistance and gasoline vouchers are available once every 60 days. See
chart above for the volume of services provided in 2017.
Turn the Tide – A Christmas event that includes three components: Holiday food
baskets, Tree of Sharing, and Adopt-a- Family. Established clients may sign-up for
assistance with the holidays in mid-October. Eligibility for this program only is 185%
Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Other Services – Kiwanis “Coats for Kids” distribution, the Ohio Benefit Bank, AEP’s
Neighbor-to- Neighbor Assistance Program, Information and Referral*. ISS also
provides a worksite for court-appointed community service workers and the Work
Experience Program (WEP).
Across the four branches of ISS more than $400,000 dollars will be provided in 2018 to give
goods and services to the neediest citizen’s of Knox County during the 50 th year of operation. In
addition, thousands of dollars more will be provided through thrift store vouchers and food
pantry provisions, according to Joy Harris, Executive Director. The list of services provided
above for 2017 demonstrates the need for Interchurch Social Services and the value that this
ministry is providing for Knox County residents, she added.
Leaders of ISS indicate that their presence in the community has sensitized friends, neighbors,
coworkers and employers to the issues of poverty and provides an outlet for their response. In
1984, an editorial in the Mount Vernon News asserted “Interchurch Social Services has done
more to unite Knox Countians in serving humankind than any other agency.” That statement is
as true today as it was all those years ago.
In 2017 Mount Vernon office of ISS operated on a budget of $291,457. Congregations and
church organizations, individuals and group donations provided the largest portions of funds to
support the budget with more than $106,000 contributed. Food for the Hungry provided
$80,000 and thrift store profits more than $33,000 for services provided. Income for 2017 was
$274,056.09, which was $17,400.91 under Budget. Expenses were $256,805.84, which was
$6,142.19 over budget, leaving a net income of $17,250.25. Mount Vernon’s income budget for
2018 is $236,610 and expense budget is $235,455.
Cristy Miller, Client Aid Counselor on ISS staff, reported to the January meeting of the Board of
Directors that through the Mount Vernon branch 249 children and 13 teens were served at
Christmas which included 103 families in the Turn the Tide program. For November-December,
financial aid was provided to 93 families, 40 utilities, 26 housing, 5 medical, 22 gasoline, 180
information and referral, and 106 miscellaneous. The office asks for proof of identification,
proof of income, and proof of address before giving assistance.
Sandy Daubenspeck, pantry manager, reported the pantry helped 757 families during
November & December 2017. There were 148 Christmas boxes provided in 2017. (This
compares to 179 in 2016 and 190 in 2015.) For the 2017 year, 4,979 clients were helped
through Interchurch pantry.
Lou Baker, thrift store manager, reported to the board, giving an example of a typical month
(November). There were 591 paying customers and 347 voucher customers (222 adults, 125
children) — 210 vouchers were issued, with a total of 938 customers in the store that month.
In the Mount Vernon thrift store, in that monthly example, 63 percent of customers were
paying individuals and 37 percent were non-paying customers using vouchers. Of those 37
percent voucher customers, 64 percent were individuals and 36 percent have children on their
vouchers (parents with children or grandparents raising their grandchildren). So with the
November example, the thrift store provided more than $1,200 worth of clothing to voucher
customers, based on modest thrift store prices, as well as dozens of free coats worth several
hundred dollars. “All of these items met a desperate need in our voucher customers’ lives. But,
this also means that we have just two-thirds of our customers carrying the store,” Baker
explained. “This means we live in a generous community, and this allows us to do a good job of
providing clothing needs for people in financial need, but we want to attract and keep paying
customers whose purchases keep the store open,” she added.
Baker provided statistics that show the incredible growth of the thrift stores and their
contribution to the financial success of the agency. She notes that 1983 records for Mount
Vernon thrift store show sales of $5.25 (January 13) and $6.60 (January 19) while comparable
sales for the same date in 2018 were $165.50 (January 13) and $181.83 (January 19). Nine and
thirteen voucher customers were also served this year on the January dates. At thrift store
prices, many adult items can be purchased for a low cost of $2.00 compared to a quarter in
1983. February sales in 1983 were $3.80 on the 24 th , compared to $324.90 this year. March 1
comparison for 1983 was $4.60 and $160.04 this year. These numbers demonstrate the value of
the thrift stores to ISS operations as well as an appreciated service to the community.
Currently, 24 churches and church organizations provide financial support for the ISS programs
through the Mount Vernon branch. They are:
Amity United Methodist Church Beulah United Methodist Church
Brandon Baptist Church Brandon United Methodist Church
Central Christian Church Community Christian Fellowship
East Ohio Conference UMC Ebenezer United Methodist Church
Faith Lutheran Church First Baptist Church
First Church of the Nazarene First Congregational United Church of Christ
First Presbyterian Church Church of the Foursquare Gospel
Gay St. United Methodist Church Harcourt Parish Episcopal Church
Liberty Chapel United Methodist Church Lock United Methodist Church
Grove Church of Christ Mulberry St. United Methodist Church
NewLife Church of the Nazarene Owl Creek Baptist Church
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Trinity Assembly of God
Income for the Centerburg branch in 2017 was $62,015.37 which was $8,265.37 over annual
budget. Expenses were $58,272.57, which was $3,178.57 over budget, leaving a net income
of $3,742.80. The Centerburg annual budget for 2018 is expected to exceed $52,600. Thrift
Store sales provide the largest portion of the budget, with Food for the Hungry, individual and
congregational donations providing most of the remaining funds needed.
New branch manager, Sheryl O’Neil, reported for November and December a total of 52 food
pantry clients; seven gas vouchers; seven utility bills; one rent assistance, and 156
miscellaneous assists. There were eight households given financial aid in the amount of
$917.39. The thrift store sales were $5,259.92. They helped another group providing 60
Thanksgiving meals. They provided food for Christmas for 22 families without children and 31
families with children. There were 49 families given gifts for Christmas. Sponsoring Churches for
Centerburg include: Grace Lutheran Church, Lock Federated Church and Centerburg United
Income in 2017 at the Danville branch was $60,143.39. Expenses were $61,709.68, leaving a net
income loss of $1,566.29. The Danville branch operates on an annual budget of $64,870 in
2018. Congregational funds, Food for the Hungry and thrift store sales provide the largest
portions of funds to meet the budget. Danville also has a successful Christmas in July campaign
Sue Wadian, long-time Danville branch manager, reported that in November and December
they provided 175 food pantry families, 24 utilities assistance, two housing assistance, and
seven gasoline vouchers. They provided 28 Christmas boxes with food and 54 boxes with both
food and Christmas gifts. The breakdown of ages for Christmas gifts was eight under one year
old; 24 from 2-5 years old, 56 from 6-10 years old, 40 from 11-16 years old, and 13 from 16 and
up for a total of 141 children served. The Danville branch has three staff and 11 volunteers.
Sponsoring churches for Danville branch include: St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Bladensburg
Church of Christ, North Bend Church of the Brethren, Howard United Methodist Church and
Danville United Methodist Church.
Income for the Fredericktown branch in 2017 was $79,623.52 which was $10,981.10 over
budget. Expenses were $69,399.80, leaving a net income of $10,223.72. In 2018, Fredericktown
branch is operating on a budget of nearly $63,175. With Food for the Hungry campaign,
individual, group and church contributions as well as thrift store sales providing the major
portion of the funding.
Katie Frazier, Fredericktown branch manager, reported 89 families used the food pantry in
November and December; 34 households received financial aid; 19 utilities assistance; four
housing support;, one medical; seven clothing vouchers and 10 gasoline vouchers. There were
seven new clients and 417 customers in the thrift store. 70 families were served through Turn
the Tide and all received a Christmas dinner food basket.
Sponsoring churches for the Fredericktown branch are:
Fredericktown First Presbyterian Church Fredericktown United Methodist Church
Fredericktown First Baptist Church Berlin United Methodist Church
Batemantown United Methodist Church Owl Creek Church of the Brethren
Salem United Methodist Church Green Valley United Methodist Church
Fredericktown Seventh Day Adventist NewLife Community Church
Waterford United Methodist Church Fredericktown First Church of God
Jelloway United Methodist Church North Liberty United Methodist Church
Fredericktown Church of Christ Christ the King
Interchurch Social Services is an outgrowth of an ecumenical effort of eight local congregations
in August of 1968 to meet a long-felt need in the community to be a resource for people to turn
to in all kinds of personal and family emergencies.