LIMA — These days, the Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center is a busy place — and it’s getting busier.
Executive Director Vickie Shurelds keeps adding to the programming, all aimed at helping less fortunate people get back on their feet. The latest effort is to improve the health of people through a partnership with Baton Rouge Health Services Community and Walgreens with a nurse practitioner on hand twice a month to help treat people of little or no means, Shurelds said.
“We are seeing an increase in people in need of healthcare,” Shurelds said.
Many of the people are in dire need of healthcare, Shurelds said. Many have tried to treat illnesses and injuries themselves and turn to the free clinic as a last resort, she said.
“We had a guy who sliced his hand open at home and fixed it with duct tape,” she said.
The center also is distributing food from the West Ohio Food Bank and offering meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Between 130 and 190 people show to receive food those days. And 70 to 90 people show up for breakfast on Tuesday and nearly 100 for lunch on Thursday.
“We start handing out food for people to take home at 10 a.m. but people line up at 3 a.m.,” Shurelds said.
Volunteers come in to help prepare the meals twice a week.
Shurelds has started the ShowWay Imitative at the center by helping up to 10 families working through tough situations with the plan someone from each family, after reaching success, will come back and help another family through hard times.
“Once we figure out the path that they need to see some progress, their commitment to the Cheryl Allen Center is they promise to mentor another family,” she said.
Shurelds also is asking for donations to run the center. Before she took over, the facility lost United Way funding and has struggled ever since with businesses such as Tom Ahl dealerships and Happy’s Pizza making donations, she said.