CAMDEN By TAMMY FRAZIER
Members of the HUB met Tuesday to discuss the group’s newly-attained 501(c)3 status and to talk of ways to get more entities involved in the organization - an entity that has the goal of assisting those in the community who are financially-challenged.
HUB Chairperson Johnny Hobbie told the group that the HUB had applied for and attained 501(c)3 status, and with that status the HUB is now “its own entity - which opens up funding opportunities.”
Hobbie said a set of by-laws is being put in place to “improve the structure” of the organization. The structure would involve officers, an official board of directors, and three major committees: Funding, fundraising and advisory.
He asked the members about who in the community could be added to the group because they would be “absolutely essential” for the HUB to be strengthened and grow. Suggestions were made, and it was stated that members of city and county government and law enforcement entities need to be invited to join the HUB. Those who were also mentioned to ask to become a part of the group were representatives from: SAU Tech, the Housing Authority of the City of Camden, members of the area’s school districts, workforce organization representatives, members of area economic development groups and businesses at Highland Industries and representatives of the South Arkansas Regional Health Center.
HUB member and “Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By-World” facilitator Julian Lott stated that the aforementioned representatives would bring their expertise in several areas from jobs, to education, helping “Getting Ahead” participants develop mental strategies to keep those jobs.
He said that the those invited would help “bridge the gap” in helping residents not only break the cycle of poverty, but not revert to their former lifestyle due to pressures from family and friends and the culture they have always known.
Lott stated that a person may graduate from the “Getting Ahead” class and then find a job but in doing so, probably no longer qualify for government assistance. He said there may be a “gap” between the last form of assistance and their paycheck. Also, the subject of now having to pay for child care may become an issue. Because of that, family members and friends may chide the person and state that the graduate’s new lifestyle makes no sense. Due to peer pressure, some might return to their former lifestyle.
He stated that, due to those pressures, the HUB needs volunteers to mentor “Getting Ahead” class members and graduates to help them see the benefits of their new lifestyle.
The next “Getting Ahead” class will begin on Aug. 13 and applications are still being accepted. They can be found at various businesses and churches throughout town, and at the Christian Health Center in the Cardinal Shopping Center or by calling 231-1111.
The class will have its graduation ceremony on Dec. 10.
Also during the meeting, Gwen Edwards of CADC stated that the LIHEAP utility assistance program began on July 2 and will run until resources are depleted. The program helps those who are having trouble paying for utilities, and Edwards said that LIHEAP will help cover regular utility bills and help in “emergency” situation for those who have received disconnect notices with a cut-off of seven days or less. She stated that the bill can be paid within 48 hours and up to $500.
Regarding upcoming events:
• National Night Out will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Aug. 7 at Carnes Park. Hobbie and Lott stated that the event is sponsored by the area’s Unity in the Community group and that it should be attended by all in the area. The event is should not be ‘pigeonholed’ as a “black or white event,” said Hobbie. He added that the program is being held to help “blend the community,” and that the same viewpoint should be held for Juneteenth and the Daffodil Festival.
• A Pop-Up Shop fundraiser will be held Aug. 23-25 at a yet-to-be-determined location. The sale will offer items such as clothing, handbags, household items, kitchen items, luggage and more. And from 6-9 p.m. on Aug. 23, there will be a ‘pre-sale’ for those who are willing to pay a fee to buy items before the general public. The regular sale will be from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Aug. 24-25.