Community Emergency Outreach:
“The Cora Nell Simpson Fund”
Biblical basis for assisting others:
Matthew 25:34-40 - The Judgement of the Nations
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Matthew 25:30-46 are Christ’s commandments to his followers regarding their behavior toward “the least of these” in our community and the world. First Presbyterian Church of Alton takes these commandments very seriously and finds ways to help take care of the “least” of these.“The Cora Nell Simpson Fund” seeks to fulfill this guidance.
The Cora Nell Simpson Fund Guidelines/Procedures:
“You see, he has a job promised- but he needs a pair of steel-toed work boots. My husband lost his job six months ago and we have used everything we had saved up. And now…when we have a chance to start over…well, there is just one more obstacle in the way. Can you help??? Our folks gave us $23 ; it was all they could put together, and we had to use it to pay the utility bill. I know it is unusual – but he…rather WE need a pair of boots.” They cost over $50…
This is just one brief story heard over the past several years in the administration of The Cora Nell Simpson Fund program (The Simpson Fund). Most people who come to us for help are first timers or are people who were recently unemployed. The guidelines for this Outreach Fund stipulate that the need must be met entirely by our participation as the above example articulates. Most incidents are a bit more complicated. Many, such as medical or medical bills, utility bills, rent or house payments are major expenses that exceed the scope of The Cora Nell Simpson Fund.
The Cora Nell Simpson Fund has provided assistance to over 600 families and individuals since 2004. This ministry has forged partnerships with the following organizations:
Alton Township Supervisors Office
First Call for Help (United Way), Southwest Illinois Division
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
Madison County Urban League, Inc.
Madison County Community Development
St. Vincent de Paul Society (Ss Peter & Paul)
We currently receive 2-5 calls or visits per week requesting assistance. This involves approximately 16-20 hours per month of office hours interviewing and assembling assistance for families/individuals. The 16-20 hours does not include the time spent outside the church conducting follow-ups and client services at retailers, locating housing accommodations and pharmacies.
First Presbyterian Church of Alton is a starting place and a last resort to find help. One of the primary goals of this ministry is helping individuals locate and assemble “package plans” by contacting the various organizations in the local area whose mission it is to address the more complex needs. Because we are not social workers with greater resources and time for extended follow-up care, we provide a conduit to access other professional agencies within the community that are geared toward more specialized services.
Who to Contact
Jim Johnson is the current coordinator for this fund and is the primary contact for those in need.
- Mr. Johnson is currently in the church office each Thursday during the hours of 10:00am to 1:00pm.
- For in person meetings, please contact the office first to set up an appointment with the coordinator. Please call (618) 465-3592 during the church business office hours of Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 1:00 pm. or…
- You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to provide your contact information as well as providing responses to the following criteria to enable the coordinator to have a starting point from which to determine whether you are qualified under The Simpson Fund guidelines.
Eligibility Criteria and Assistance limits
You must be a resident of Alton or Godfrey, Illinois.For those outside these two townships, there are organizations in the Metro-East who also assist in other townships and communities.
2) YOU SHOUD HAVE SOME FORM OF VALID IDENTIFICATION.
A state identification card, driver’s license, passport, military I.D. are valid sources of identification as long as they are not expired.
3) DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE ASSISTANCE:
When this relief fund was established, a limit of $50.00 was set for each case.As time has progressed, costs escalated and economic conditions fluctuate, there has been variation in the
amount allowed.This is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances and whether other agency partners can provide more adequate assistance.In some cases
the assistance has ranged from $75.00-$80.00 but $50.00 is the starting point for those who qualify under The Simpson Fund guidelines.
4) ASSISTANCE IS TYPICALLY LIMITED TO SIX MONTH INTERVALS:
The Simpson Fund was designed to be a one-time assistance program. Situations where assistance is required every six months will be referred to the other agencies who are better
equipped to help those with more difficult situations.
The Simpson Fund Generally Covers The Following:
You must (1) provide the “Shut-Off Notice”, (2) provide proof that other agencies have been contacted for assistance and (3) decision of the other agencies. The assistance is based in part on the prevention of the loss of utilities or resuming services when there are no other options available. The Simpson Fund has been granted the ability to access utility account information of the family/individual seeking assistance to determine whether other agencies have agreed to participate in satisfaction of the utility bill.
B) PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION PURCHASE
Individuals seeking assistance must provide the script/prescription from the doctor or the hospital. We have partnered with certain pharmacies who work with us on the price and will bill us directly.
Assistance with housing
A) RENT DEPOSIT
Must present a signed rental agreement contract – original or a copy; proof of contact with other agencies that can assist in this need;and we must be contacted by the Landlord.
B) RENT OR MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE
Must present the “Eviction Notice”; we must be contacted by the Landlord or the Mortgage Lender; must present proof of contact with at least one other agency that could assist in this
C) EMERGENCY SHELTER
You should present proof that contact has been made with The United Way or one of the agencies that assist with emergency shelter. These organizations can generally assist with these situations.If the above conditions have been met, we do provide assistance with emergency shelter situations.
**We have specific criteria we adhere to for emergency housing: The stay will be coordinated with “Super 8” where we have an agreement regarding individuals or families seeking this category of assistance. The Simpson Fund coordinator will determine eligibility and contact the hotel with the names of the occupants who will be housed.The Simpson Fund will be contacted to pay the bill.
A) FOOD ASSISTANCE
Food Assistance is provided by “Crisis Food Center” or “Catholic Charities”.First Presbyterian Church of Alton also provides free hot meals through two (2) programs at this church: Every
Tuesday at 11:00am is “Soup’s On” / Every Saturday beginning at 11:00am is “The Saturday Café”.We are also able to make arrangements for meals through our local hospital cafeterias.
B) CLOTHING ASSISTANCE
Assistance for clothing can be accomplished through the “Nearly New Shop” for no cost.For those who need clothing suitable for work or other similar situations, the “Caravan Shop” will
be contacted by the Simpson Fund coordinator and a purchase order arranged for the individual.The “Caravan Shop” will bill the Simpson Fund for the purchase.
C) TRAVEL EXPENSE/GAS FOR AUTOMOBILE
This expense is not eligible for coverage under the criteria for The Simpson Fund.
…In many cases, just being there to listen, to care, to console,
to offer possibilities of help it the greatest part of our ministry….
Questionnaire for Eligibility under
“The Cora Nell Simpson Fund”
Please click on the link below to access the questionnaire for presentation to the Simpson Fund Coordinator.
First - Please print out the form,
Second - fill it out with as much information as possible
Third - Email the form or present to the church office and set an appointment with the Coordinator.
Email to :email@example.com