Pete Feil • chair, Mission & Peace Committee

This month’s mission focus is on elder care as provided by Christian Churches United (CCU) and its partner agencies. From its earliest beginnings in Harrisburg in 1866, Christian Churches United of the Tri-County Area has evolved to a partnership of over 100 Christian congregations in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties that work together with concerned individuals, public and private funders, and numerous partner agencies like Derry to support our neighbors in need. 

CCU provides a continuum of programs seeking to address both crisis housing situations and chronic causes of housing and financial instability. While motivated by Jesus’ love and example, CCU aids clientele without regard to religion or creed. CCU is united in service and love to those facing homelessness, poverty and incarceration. 

One area of service provided by CCU is their HELP Ministries. Through HELP, services are offered to provide shelter, rental and utility assistance, as well as medical or other basic needs. For instance, families under threat of eviction can work with HELP to resolve the issue and remain in their home. During the winter, if a family has exhausted all other fuel assistance programs, they can receive a one-time supply of heating fuel through HELP. 

HELP is the point of contact for those needing an emergency shelter as provided by the YWCA, Shalom House, and Interfaith Family Shelter. They then work with the shelter and client to find permanent housing in the area. Financial counseling may be needed to save for a security deposit and to make the initial monthly rental payment. This can lead the family to a long-term solution out of homelessness. In addition, HELP provides aid to those in need of medical, transportation, or food assistance. Thus, a one-time need for a life-sustaining medicine can be met. HELP can also arrange for emergency transportation in specific situations, such as a stranded traveler. Clients in need of food are referred to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s reference guide. Derry’s support of HELP Ministries enables them to provide a vital link with other social services to form a safety net for those in need in the Tri-County area.