Thursday, March 6, 2003

Helping Hands needs a boost

By Rob Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON TWP. - If help doesn't come soon for a Hamilton Township program, it won't be able to continue helping others.

Helping Hands, which usually gives one week's worth of food to needy people in this southern Warren County township, is based solely on donations.

But little money has been received lately.

"We are back down to where we are very low," said Pat Cremeans , a volunteer in the Helping Hands program.

The program started in December 2001 when the Little Miami Youth Athletic Association made a $1,000 donation to the township to help people in need.

Because trustees could not legally donate the money, they formed Helping Hands.

"Most of these people run into a week or two when it is going to be bad or until they can receive assistance from another program," said program volunteer Bill Shearer.

The group has about $200 left in the account, enough to feed little more than one family for a week.

"Unless we get more donations this will all be over," Shearer said.

The program has helped at least 14 families since its inception, Shearer said.

"It might not be a large amount, but the way the world and economy are these problems don't go away, they grow," Cremeans said. "We want to be able to help the people that need just a little."

"People will call in and tell us that a neighbor or a family member could use a little bit of help," Shearer said, "and we'll look into it."

People receiving the food often don't even know the food is coming.

"It is not one of those things that is out in the public eye," Cremeans said.

"I don't know the people who are receiving (the food) and they don't know who I am."

The fate of the program now rests with the township, organizers said.

"It just depends if the people want to continue it," Shearer said. "The program is there and there is a need."

Donations can be made to Helping Hands at the Township Administration Building, 8375 Maineville Road, or the Lebanon Citizens National Bank, 7795 S. Ohio 48.

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