Fall season breeds changes at ARM

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Seeing a need, the board of Assistance & Resource Ministries quickly sprung into action.
As the fall season hits the region, the board of the local food pantry recently made a decision in the hopes of better serving the community, according to ARM Director Rob Fritts.
“We recently met as a board and voted to change our hours,” Fritts told the Elizabethton Star Wednesday. “We wanted to help the people that were working up to 4 or 5 p.m. that may be struggling with food or clothing. That was the biggest reason for the change.”
New hours at the facility will officially go into effect Tuesday, Oct. 3. During the week, ARM, located on West C Street in Elizabethton, will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the community. Fritts added that the facility would not be closed for lunch, an extra perk for those looking to utilize the resources available.
And so far, resources have been able to be dispersed at a bit of a rapid rate, according to the director.
“It has been increasing,” Fritts said about the amount of people stopping by the facility. “Last month, we had 61 new families that came in. We checked the numbers for this month and we were at 45 new families. That over 100 over the past two months.
“One of the good things about that is we’re also seeing our numbers stabilize,” he continued. “Some of our families that have been with us for awhile are not coming by as much.”
But a new workload offers viable volunteer hours. Fritts added the change of the schedule would allow a better chance for individuals to stop by and assist with day-to-day activities.
“Volunteer opportunities are available,” he said. “Whether it’s high school students needing to complete their Tennessee Promise hours, youth or church groups, we want to encourage anybody that wants to help to come by the office. There’s something to do for just about anyone, honestly.”
One of the key elements of fall inside ARM is the annual holiday boxes that are provided to families during the Thanksgiving season.
Fritts added that individuals wanting to help with the boxes could do so by either providing monetary donations or donating Thanksgiving-orientated food or dessert items. The cutoff date for donations is September 26 by the end of business hours and boxes will start being dispersed the first November.
Individuals looking to use the services provided at the facility can either visit during office hours or call  (423) 542-0919 to learn more.
2017 has proved to be an interesting year so far for Fritts, who was recently named the director at the facility. No stranger to the work at the installation, after serving with ARM as a board member, Fritts took a moment Wednesday to thank the community.
“We’re blessed and thankful for everyone’s support,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to provide this service without it. We’ll have some upcoming events, including a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s.”
Citizens wanting to learn more about the organization can visit the Assistance & Resources Ministries Facebook page online.

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