Christian Ministries of Delaware County Helps Thousands Every Year
Writer / Jerry Winans
Photographer / Dylan Senkus
“The Giving Tree” is a beloved children’s picture book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. In the book, a boy develops a lifelong friendship with a tree. It’s a selfless tree, giving help as the boy grows up – fruit for food, wood for a shelter, and finally a stump to rest on when he’s old. That could describe Christian Ministries of Delaware County. It’s a giving tree where thousands find help when needed.
“We’re a social services agency, although people confuse us with a church,” says Andrea Smith, executive director. “Anyone can come through our doors. We don’t turn anyone away.”
Smith, a Yorktown native, has been with Christian Ministries for 10 years. She started as a grant writer, later becoming the interim executive director. Eventually this became her permanent title, but she also continues writing grants. Previously, she traveled across Indiana for seven years as a trainer at the nonprofit Indianapolis Algebra Project, which provides tutoring services.
Started by a group of pastors in 1945, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit was formed in 1991 as Christian Ministries of Delaware County. Its motto runs as follows: “Life-changing help in desperate times; Connecting people in crisis with a community that cares.”
The Christian Ministries “giving tree” has six branches:
Shelter: The Family Shelter consists of one efficiency apartment and four rooms sharing a kitchen and bathroom. In 2022, 12 adults and 19 children found shelter there. The Men’s Sleeping Room for single men is open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. between October and April. In 2022, 703 beds were used, 1,406 meals were served and 59 new guests found shelter.
Food Pantry: Christian Ministries operates the largest food pantry in Delaware County. It provides staple items like meat, fresh fruits and vegetables (when available). In 2022 it served 4,206 families (including 1,040 new families) and 10,662 individuals.
The Treasure Shop Thrift Store: The shop offers gently used items donated by the community and sold at reduced prices to benefit the programs and services of Christian Ministries.
Emergency Assistance: Clients receive help to pay rent or utility bills before eviction or utility shutoffs occur. In 2022, 156 households were helped, including 116 for utilities and 40 for rent assistance.
Blanket Cupboard: Free blankets, bedding and linens are provided to clients from September through May. The Baby Care program offers baby goods, diapers, formula and other items for parents in need, once per month.
School Supplies: Christian Ministries partners with Hearts & Hands United to be a drop-off point for school supplies that are distributed to families with school-aged children. Businesses or individuals can also adopt a family to help with Christmas presents to ensure children avoid the humiliation and disappointment of no gifts.
Christian Ministries of Delaware County is located at 401 East Main Street in Muncie. You can volunteer by calling 765-288-0601, and visit them online at christianministriesmuncie.org for more information.