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JUNE NEWSLETTER 2015
Welcome to RCS!
RCS is heating up this summer! As school winds down, we find ourselves extremely busy as our neighborhood children are not in school during the summer months. We get to see them more frequently in our Soup Kitchen. 
In addition to serving more people in the Soup Kitchen during the summer months, we continue to help Craven County residents with problem electric and utility bills as well as medical and gasoline vouchers. Although many services are paid for through grant money that has been awarded to RCS, there is so much that we provide that is dependent on private funding. We rely heavily on monetary donations from the community to provide helpful services to those in need. It also takes a lot of money just to keep our Shelter doors open and the lights on.  

With that being said, we are pleased to introduce our first Summer Fundraiser with ICE SKATING IN THE PARK! Christmas in July will come to Kidsville Park on July 17 & 18. This is an exciting opportunity and chance for summer fun for both kids and adults. You can skate, bounce, water slide and HAVE FUN! Food vendors will be available to provide food and snacks. Proceeds from refreshments will also benefit RCS. We are looking for sponsors as well as volunteers to help make this a successful, safe and fun event. For more information, please visit www.skate4hunger.org and please spread the word -- this is going to be LOTS of fun and will help RCS continue the daily ministries we provide. 
See you on the ice,
Juliet Rogers, Executive Director
Upcoming Events
ICE SKATING IN THE PARK!!
July 17 & 18 10:00am - 6:00pm | Kidsville Playground
RCS and New Bern Parks and Recreation Department are bringing ICE SKATING to New Bern on July 17 & 18!!! Join us for two days in July as we enjoy ice skating, bounce houses, food and snow cones at Kidsville Playground. ALL proceeds will benefit the programs and services at RCS. Tickets are required for admission and can be purchased online or at the event. A $10 admission covers ice skating, water slide, bounce houses and activities throughout the day. For non-skaters, admission is $5. Receive $1 off admission with the donation of a canned good. A Home Run Derby will take place on Saturday 10am-12pm with an extra fee to participate. The "Who's Hungry?" Mobile Kitchen and Kona Ice will also be available on both days for paid refreshments. GO TO www.skate4hunger.org FOR MORE INFORMATION!

Volunteers are needed on both days to help with registration, supervision of the rink, waterslide and bounce houses, playground maintenance and more! To signup for volunteer opportunities online, click here!

We are also offering sponsorship opportunities for businesses to help support this exciting event and provide additional exposure. Please visit www.skate4hunger.org for details and to download a sponsorship form. 
May Highlights
Lemonade for RCS
Last month, a group of young students held a lemonade stand to help raise money for RCS. They sold lemonade and cookies. In two short hours, they raised $225! We are so proud of these kids and their generosity - what an example they are setting for others. Thank you so much for your help!

Tryon Civitans give CPR!!!

Thank you to the Tryon Civitan Club for donating 1090 pounds of Cereal, Pasta and Rice collected during their "CPR" event in May! This is such a generous group who does so much for our community. Keep up the good work and THANK YOU!!

RCS Yard Sale
 
Last month, RCS hosted its First Community Yard Sale. Despite soaring temperatures, there was a big turnout and RCS ended the day with $1500 that will help fund services and programs offered throughout the year. Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped and to all community members who donated and bought goods for the cause! We can't do this without you!
Soup Kitchen Needs
Thanks to a successful May Food Drive from USPS and from the Tryon Civitans, we have a good stock of non-perishable foods. This is good news, but could change next month. Even though the heat continues to soar, we spend hours each day sorting food and home goods in a warehouse without air conditioning and preparing food in a Soup Kitchen that gets very hot. We also have many guests who walk or ride bikes to our location in need of food and water. To help keep volunteers and guests safe from over-heating, we are in critical need of the following:
bottled water
Volunteer Needs
There are plenty of opportunities to serve others at RCS, either on site or at a number of local events. We encourage participation from all ages and are currently looking for volunteers to help in the following areas:
WAREHOUSE
Need help sorting food, house goods and linens Monday - Friday 8am-1pm. Call Sally at (252) 876-1718 or email for more information. 
YARD WORK
Need help with lawn maintenance, grass, flower beds. Call Sally at (252) 876-1718 or email to make arrangements. 
FRONT DESK
Looking for volunteers to answer phones, greet guests on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8am - 10am. Call Roseann at (252) 633-2767 or email for info!
SOUP KITCHEN
We are looking for a group of volunteers to help on the fifth Friday of those months with five Fridays. Times needed are 8:30am-12noon. Call Sally at (252) 876-1718 or email for more information. 
ICE SKATING IN THE PARK
July 17 & 18
Volunteers are needed on both days to help with registration, supervising the rink, waterslide and bounce houses, playground maintenance and more! To signup online, click here!
Volunteer Spotlight
Volunteer Spotlight
Toni Deichmann joined the RCS Board two years ago and ever since has been setting a good example of what a board member should be. Our most recent example took place during our Yard Sale held on May 30. Toni volunteered her time both days to make sure that all donated goods were sorted and priced appropriately. It was nearly 100 degrees, but she stayed knowing we all needed and appreciated her help! Toni also made sure that RCS received air-time on the radio for additional exposure. A special thank you to Toni and her husband, Mike, for their continued support of RCS!
Our Programs
RCS is a faith-based organization that addresses the basic needs of our community by providing food, clothing and shelter to those who need it most. Our primary programs include the Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry and Homeless Shelter, but we have many other programs that help nourish the whole person: mind, body and spirit. We offer many opportunities and welcome volunteer and monetary support for the following programs: 
Soup Kitchen
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
Transportation Assistance
Homeless Shelter
Disaster Relief & Recovery
Rent & Utility Assistance
Food Pantry
Clothing for Casual & Business Wear
Enrichment & Education Program
Teen Homelessness
Teen Life on the Streets
Your home is your sanctuary. Can you imagine not having one? According to Safe Horizon, a New York City-based victims’ services agency, approximately 1.7 million young people live on the streets each year in our country. Of that number, 39% are younger than 18. The numbers are staggering. 

The homelessness issue in New Bern and Craven County may not be as obvious as it would be in more urban areas, but it does exist. Earlier this year, the City of New Bern identified nearly 100 homeless people in a one-day count. This does not include the homeless people that were not found in the area patrolled. Just as in other cities, a significant portion of the homeless are teens. Too old for foster care, yet too young to apply for social services, this group is often the most vulnerable.

When the Street is the Only Option

How do young people end up homeless? The reasons are quite varied, but often include conflicts with parents or economic hardships. Most of us can recall arguments with our parents or difficulties in our relationships with them, but teens today can find themselves in situations that make a normal life impossible. Some leave the home because a parent or relative is physically, sexually, or mentally abusive. When dealing with daily abuse some teens would rather try and “make it on their own” instead of staying in their current living situation. 

Sometimes the problem can be substance abuse—not by the teen, but by a parent or guardian. An environment such as this often leads to neglect or a situation where the young person is not properly cared for. The issue may be about sexual preference—many teens report being kicked out of their home because parents or family do not approve of their lifestyle. Spousal abuse is another leading cause of teen homelessness. When a mother or father finally decides to leave an abusive partner the children usually flee with them. 

Homelessness can also result from economic factors. In a fragile economy, the loss of a job or an unexpected medical emergency may completely wipe out any monetary “cushion” a family has. With the bills piling up, and no income in sight, many families lose their homes. If they have no one to assist them, living in a shelter or a car with their children may be the only option. 

Risks for the Homeless Teen

Being homeless is not a safe way to live—no matter your age. But teens who find themselves without a home are more likely to turn to risky behavior to survive. Some become involved in the drug scene: Either using to deal with the pain of abuse or other trauma or selling to have some sort of income. It can even be a combination of the two. Teens may turn to something Safe Horizon calls “survival sex,” trading sexual favors for food, clothing, or shelter. With no real form of protection, teens living on the streets are more likely to be assaulted as well. 

Not surprisingly, many homeless youth can suffer from anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress, and other mental health disorders. If no support is given in such cases, problems can worsen to the point homeless teens become a danger to themselves and others. 

How Can You Help?

Religious Community Services (RCS) is a faith-based organization addressing the basic needs of our community by providing food, clothing, and shelter to those who need it most. RCS helps those who have lost their job for reasons beyond their control and children who need a well-balanced meal when school is not in session. RCS helps women who have been abused and need a safe place to stay with their children. The goal of RCS is to help anyone who finds themselves in a time of need by providing quality programs and services that offer assistance and promote self-sufficiency.

RCS operates a 20-bed shelter for homeless families, teens, and individuals. Last year, over 200 individuals stayed at the shelter, including men, women, and children; beds were full every night for nearly 300 days. RCS works with many local programs and agencies in helping guests achieve self-sufficiency. 

You can help by donating toiletry items, clean linens (twin size), pajamas, slippers, and towels for those utilizing the shelter. Many of us have shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and other items from hotels stashed in a drawer at home—why not donate those items to someone who could really use them? Or, next time you’re grocery shopping, pick up an extra toothbrush (or two!) or buy a couple of extra bars of soap to donate. 

Volunteering your time to assist in preparing meals off-site to feed those staying at the shelter is another great way to help. Some volunteers bring prepared meals and stay and visit with shelter guests—something that would be a great opportunity for church groups, or local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. You can call the RCS shelter at (252) 633-1887 to learn more about volunteer opportunities or shelter needs. 
Help provide food and shelter for families in need! RCS relies heavily on donations from individuals and businesses to support our efforts. We need your help!