Horizons offering hand up to area needy

Quincy area churches have joined together to fight the city's hunger problem.

The organization they formed is called Horizons Social Services of Adams County.

Father James Derbyshire, Rector of St. John's Church at 7th and Hampshire in Quincy and founder of Horizons said, "There's a broad range of needs. There are people who have various issues they're dealing with and need help."

And that help comes in many forms here at Horizons Social Services of Adams County. Now in addition offering daily hot meals, the organization, headquartered here at St. John's Church at 7th and Hampshire, also offers a free clothing closet and food pantry.

Father Derbyshire said, "We started putting these things together, meeting people where they were."

But how the organization came to be is a story of area churches coming together for the betterment of others, fulfilling the Christian mission of helping the needy. St. John's had been helping folks who came to its door for years. But when the Salvation Army was no longer able to serve daily *hot* meals after tearing down its homeless shelter to make room for construction on the Kroc Center, St. John's saw a way it could collaborate with its new neighbors across the street. From there, efforts grew, today involving more than ten churches and area organizations now joined by a common organization called Horizons.

More than 70 people crowd into this room for a hot meal every day, but organizers say they're not just feeding the body, but the soul as well.

Folks can literally change their life and circumstances here through the Quincy Transitional Work Program.

Horizons offers this opportunity to folks needing a fresh start and a career. From ex-offenders to single mothers, this organization provides life counseling for simple things like budgeting to aiding in the search for folks can find a better life for themselves and their families.

Dr. Bill Barker, Executive Director of Horizons said, "It's not just to remove people from poverty, but to break the poverty cycle. It's an opportunity for them to get back on their feet but plug them into a bible study group and essentially hit the restart button, getting plugged into a different community, and social life."

But Dr. Barker says none of this would be possible without the support of more than 300 volunteers and area organizations who've teamed up to make Quincy a better place.

Horizons serves its daily meal during the noon hour Monday through Friday.

The organization can use gently used clothing , nonperishable food and monetary donations to help keep the program going.