Community Helpers is a non-profit, United Way partner whose purpose is to provide emergency financial assistance to residents of Rutherford County. We help with utilities, rent, medicine, and referrals.
The Emergency Assistance Program is funded by United Way, Charity Circle of Murfreesboro, many area churches and individual contributors.
Community Helpers also receives and distributes funds donated by customers of Murfreesboro Electric Department through the Magic Dollar Program, the ATMOS Energy Customer Contribution Program, the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation SharingChange Program "Project Help", the ATMOS Energy Share the Warmth Program, and the Consolidated Utility District Neighbor 4 Neighbor Program.
The Prescription Medicine Assistance Program is funded by a grant from the Christy Houston Foundation, donations from the First United Methodist Church, and others.
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”
Community Helpers is a non-profit agency which has been in existence since 1981. We assist Rutherford County residents in meeting their emergency rent, utility, and medicinal needs while also making referrals and connecting our clients to local resources which have the potential of offering improved long-term circumstances. The target population includes low-income persons, the recently unemployed, single parents, senior citizens, the disabled, and chronically ill persons of all ages. We have two distinct programs.
Our first program covers rent and utilities; it is funded by United Way, area churches, organizations, and individuals. This program receives funds donated by consumers of Murfreesboro Electric Department Magic Dollars program. We are also the clearing house for Middle Tennessee Electric’s SharingChange Program “Project Help,” Consolidated Utility District’s “Neighbor 4 Neighbor,”and Atmos Energy’s Customer Assistance Program (Share the Warmth), but there is no transfer of funds with these programs.
Our second program provides prescription medications to people in need due to income or insurance hardships. The Christy-Houston Foundation primarily funds this program, with contributions from churches and individuals. We work in close cooperation with St. Louise Clinic and the Dispensary of Hope.
With every client, we attempt to go beyond solving his/her immediate need, connecting him/her to resources to provide long-term solutions.
How we work
We are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week. Clients call for appointments, but we also see walk-ins when possible. Some clients are referred to us by entities such as the Dispensary of Hope, the Rutherford County Health Department, The Journey Home, Rutherford County Schools Social Work staff, and the St. Thomas Hospital emergency room. An intake process assesses need, and then the client visits with a caseworker who determines the next steps. We meet immediate needs when possible, but partner with other community agencies for additional help and for long-term solutions to the client’s situation, if appropriate. The partnerships used by Community Helpers include:
- Greenhouse Ministries, referrals for budget counseling
- Legal Aid for such things as free clinic dates
- Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency (MCCA) for food commodities and for help with rent and utilities
- Rutherford County Schools for the ATLAS program to assist homeless children
- Local participating churches
- Murfreesboro Housing Authority
- St. Clair Senior Center for elderly resources
- Smyrna-Lavergne Food Bank
- The Career Center and staffing agencies for job referrals
- VITA for free income tax filing assistance
- The Salvation Army to Connect Resoures
- Branches Counseling Center
Due to the recent closing of several low income housing apartments, and
a closed waiting list at Murfreesboro Housing, affordable housing based on
client income and credit issues has become scarce in our community. Also, fewer
organizations who can provide immediate emergency financial assistance to
prevent loss of housing, or prevent the disconnection of utilities has
contributed to a greater need for services such as those offered by Community
After years of stable funding from United Way, funding for 2016-2017 was drastically cut as United Way shifted its emphasis to other types of programs.
The changing landscape of health insurance has impacted clients we see. TennCare enrollment requirements are becoming more stringent, many times leaving people unable to qualify for the program. Also, people receiving SSI or SSD, that are not 65 years old do not receive Medicare or Medicaid for two years after their disability benefits begin.
With these new
circumstances, Community Helpers is looking for new partners with similar
desires to help the struggling in our community.