STEP 1 Determine if your church is willing or potentially able to meet the need of the person requesting help.
If your church is willing and able to meet the need of the person requesting assistance, go to Step 2.
The Christian Services Help Center will help discover the full story, verify the need, determine the best help for the family, and avoid duplication of services.
If your church is unable to meet the need of the person requesting assistance:
- Tell them to call the Christian Services Help Center directly at 394-5411 to see what resources are available to assist them. Christian Services is not able to serve walk-ins. This is a phone referral service only. At times the help line can be busy so people must be persistent in calling to get through. Thursdays are often our less busy day.
Christian Services Help Center Hours: Monday—Thursday from 9 AM — 3 PM
- You can also check the list of Community Resources for food, shelter and help lines to give them more information. They can also call 211 to get resource information or go online to www.centralmichigan211.org.
- You may contact the Christian Services Help Center to notify us that you told the person to contact our office, or to give us any further information that may be helpful in meeting the need.
STEP 2 Gather Information
- Make sure you have their complete name, address and phone number. If there is no phone, get a message phone number. The Christian Services staff must have a way to contact the person.
- Identify the Problem. Find out what assistance the person is requesting, if they have contacted other churches or agencies, and the names of those places.
STEP 3 Call Christian Services
- Church staff may call our administrative line, 394-5413. This number is for church use only. Please do not give it out.
- Share the information you have gathered. Christian Services can discover if we have helped this person before, verify and clear the request, discover any problems, and ensure that the person utilizes existing resources first.
- Christian Services Administrative Hours: Monday—Thursday, 9 AM – 3 PM
- If the person is sitting in your office/church during our Help Center hours, you may call us, share the information you have gathered in Step 2, and put the person on the line so the Help Center staff can do an intake with them.
- After hours (or if voice mail picks up during office hours) you may leave a message on the administrative line voice mail (394-5413). Be sure to leave the complete name of the person and what they are requesting, as well as what your church might be able to assist with. You will receive a call back the same day or next business day, depending on when the message was left.
- (The help line number for people in need to call direct is 394-5411. Christian Services is not able to serve walk-in clients. This is a phone referral service only. At times the help line can be busy so people must be persistent in calling to get through.)
STEP 4 Christian Services will:
- check our files to see if the person has received other assistance
- talk with the person requesting assistance and get more information
- make phone calls to verify the person’s situation
- Check with other agencies that may have assistance
STEP 5 Christian Services will:
- contact (you) the church
- share what we have learned
- make a recommendation about appropriate assistance for the person
STEP 6 After Our Office Hours
- Refer the person to call 211 for other resources or go online to www.centralmichigan211.org to find resources that may meet an emergency need which cannot wait until the next day. Emergencies that cannot wait are basic food and shelter needs. Most other needs will take time to resolve.
STEP 7 Please notify Christian Services of any assistance you provide.
- This will help prevent duplication of services and avoid any abuse of the helping system.
- We suggest that you never give cash to people requesting assistance. If you do, please let us know who you assisted and the amount that was given. Check out the Ideas to Assist Walk-Ins for alternatives to cash assistance.