Salina, as a community, cares about its people and helps those in need or less fortunate. The sheer number and variety of charities in this community and the people who work tirelessly to help amazes me! It has been extremely difficult the last two years, for the library’s Community Helping Team  to choose a charity out of the many available, to donate to each month. My previous blog highlighted the charities we helped in the past, and how great the benefits of giving are, but this time I would like to highlight just a few of the other charitable organizations in the community. Each of these charities focuses on live-in facilities and in-house programs for the most vulnerable  individuals in our community.

DVACK (Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas) provides essential services to a variety of people. However, most of us don’t know exactly what they do. For instance, did you know they serve Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, Saline and Washington Counties? They have offices in Salina and Concordia. Their mission statement is, “to reduce the incidents of domestic violence and sexual offenses and to provide comfort and support to victims through crisis intervention and support services in North-Central Kansas.” 

Did you know they also offer all of these important services?  A 24-hour hotline, safe shelter, crisis intervention, individual peer counseling, emotional support and understanding, safety planning, information and referrals, civil and criminal court advocacy, assistance with protection from abuse orders, assistance with protection from stalking orders, parent/child advocacy, youth advocacy, emergency transportation, personal advocacy, economic advocacy, housing advocacy, medical advocacy and assistance with food, hygiene items, clothing, household goods and 911 phones when available and many others.

They offer free community presentations on a multitude of topics for your business, organization, club, school, class or church. DVACK welcomes women, men, children of all ages, all ethnic and racial identities, LGBTQ+, all socioeconomic classes, all religious and spiritual beliefs, individuals with disabilities they also welcome pets! They run the Bargain Basket, a thrift store that is open to the public, but provides free goods to DVACK clientele. The great thing is all proceeds from public purchases are donated directly to DVACK for their client services!

Ashby House’s mission is to restore hope to individuals and families facing homelessness or housing instability by breaking the cycle of poverty and addiction. They not only provide long-term shelter but have 48-hour emergency shelter. Some of the life-skills training includes finances, employment, self-care, parenting and goal setting. Families and individual women can reside at the shelter to provide stability while working toward independence!

One thing you might not know is Ashby House offers a sober living program at the Bridge House in partnership with Central Kansas Foundation. They provide treatment services, peer mentoring, and one-on-one case management. This program also offers temporary housing for single women and mothers with children. The residents have a structured living environment in the residence for a minimum of nine weeks and there are no program fees!

Ashby House operates The Free Store for everybody to come and shop. Last year they gave away over 120,000 clothing items and 1800 furniture and appliance items to help over 900 people in need. For an added benefit, they also take donations. So, you can get your “giving boost” for your good health! 

The Salina Rescue Mission is a faith based organization and their mission statement is, “To provide through Christian ministry: food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs and offer the rehabilitation teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The mission has four main goals in achieving success for their guests: Helping real people, with real struggles, make real change, in Jesus’ name. First, by helping real people they mean recognizing that unlike dehumanizing labels that often overlook the root causes of homelessness, they look beyond to see the person, someone’s brother, husband, son, uncle or friend! They need help getting out of the situation they are in without judgment and regardless of how they got into that situation.

With real struggles means, people experiencing homelessness live with physical and mental disabilities, addictions, poverty, have experienced family crises or other harmful life conditions that aren’t addressed simply by getting a job or a place to live. These struggles actually prevent  them from keeping a job or a home! By make real change, they mean that providing shelter alone isn’t enough. They recognize that real change takes time and work. People experiencing homelessness need to change the root cause  circumstances that lead to homelessness. Therefore, the guests are allowed to stay in the program however long they need, as long as they are working toward their goals! 

The mission serves three meals a day, breakfast for residents only, lunch for anyone in the community and dinner for any one in the community who attends services beforehand. The shelter is for men 18 and older who are sober, no alcohol or drugs, must pass a blood alcohol test and aren’t on probation or parole. They offer programs for employment, medical and mental health and street outreach. The mission relies on local donations and receives no government funding!

These three organizations alone demonstrate the commitment, empathy, compassion and dedication to serving others that embodies the Salina community. The amount of time, energy and money donated to these endeavors, and many others,  indicates the level of love and caring  available to all members of the community in their time of need. So, we are fortunate indeed to live where an attitude of sharing common interests and goals for the benefit of others exists!

And after all, in the words from a line by the Beatles, “And in the end the love we take is equal to the love we make!”