For over 40 years, Crosslines in Monett has been a beacon in the storm for struggling families and individuals who have hit a "rough patch" in the road. The organization has helped assist families with food, gasoline, medical supplies, clothing and household items.
Today, Crosslines is facing its own crisis, a depleted food bank that is necessary to its mission to provide hope and help to those in need.
"We had a lot of donations around the holidays," said MaLinda King, director at Crosslines, "but those reserves are now depleted and donations have dropped off.
"I don't know if it's the heat or the economy," King continued, "but we have a lot of people in need right now."
Crosslines has served the community since it's inception in 1969. In addition to assisting families with material things, the organization provides spiritual needs as well.
In the last few months, the center has averaged 75 families a month with food pantry assistance.
"Those include the disabled, seniors living on a fixed income and single-income households," King said. "Although we do try to fill that need, we encourage those who may qualify to apply for food stamps. We keep shampoos, soaps, detergents and other supplies on hand that food stamps won't cover."
The center has four large freezers to store fresh and frozen meats and vegetables to distribute to those in need.
"Those are depleted, as well," King said. "Everything we have can fit easily into one."
The food pantry is also in need of non-perishable goods, such as peanut butter, pasta, beans, canned soup and canned meats.
"Our shelves are empty," King said.
The demand for items is driven in part by the economy.
"in the past few months, we have been pretty steady," King said. "We have a lot of new clients who have never been in before. Then we have the clients who come and go."
Since the center is limited to assisting families once every quarter, King said she tries to address all of the family's needs at one time.
The center also hosts back-to-school drives, donating the collection of school supplies directly to area schools to assist low-income families in preparing their children for the start of the academic year. Occasionally, the center will hand out bagged supplies as well, including notebooks, pencils, glue and other "list" items, as well as clothing.
"Any donations to Crosslines, food, clothing or even cash, are used here locally," King said. "We help those in need right here at home."
The mission of the center is not only to assist those in need, but to help break the circle of poverty.
"Each circumstance is different," King said of her clients. "I was a client here 20 years ago. I was a single mother raising two children on a single income. I can relate to some of these situations. They become like family.
King said she gets to know her clients and shoppers on a first-name basis.
"The success stories that come back to us make all the difference," she said. "They encourage us that we are making a difference and makes us work all the harder to help more."
King has worked with people in the community long enough to have experienced the circle of life first hand.
"We have babies needing diapers and formula," King said. "We helped a young couple obtain an circumcision for their infant and helped another family purchase a burial plot. Working here takes in every aspect of life."
Crosslines is currently accepting donations of gently used clothing and household items, as well as food and monetary contributions.
For more information about Crosslines or to make a donation, contact King at 235-6666.