VINTON, Ohio — What was once just a small way to give back to the community has now turned into a nonprofit assisting five surrounding counties.
Working in a mission field was originally a calling that Lisa Carroll was reluctant to answer. God’s Hands at Work became her mission field.
“When there was a need in the community that I saw when I had the Treasure Cove [a thrift shop], I’d contact them if I could find out who it was and say, ‘hey, you know, whatever we have that you need, you’re welcome to,’ and because it was a thrift store, we had clothes and dishes and stuff like that,” Carroll said.
One year, after several devastating fires across the Ohio Valley, Carroll helped lead collecting donations to help all who needed it.
“We started it that way and then the community seemed to really be behind it once they heard what I was doing,” Carroll said. “[They asked] so, why don’t you open a nonprofit. So, a couple of us got together and researched how to do that, because we had no idea, and had a fundraiser to raise the money to file for the 501c3 and formed our board.”
January will be the completion of God’s Hands at Work’s eighth year serving the community —now serving residents in Gallia, Meigs, Vinton and Jackson counties in Ohio and Mason County, West Virginia.
Carroll always felt called to the mission field but thought that meant moving overseas, away everything she knew and she was scared.
“I always felt called to the mission field and I was scared of that calling ,” Carroll said. “I realize this is really my calling now, it might have been different back then, but this is my mission field.”
Carroll said she never dreamed of the impact God’s Hands at Work would have on the community or how large the service would grow.
“When I leave here, sometimes when everybody’s gone and I go through and I’m checking heat, turning the lights off and everything; sometimes I just start crying,” Carroll said. “Two weeks before the fire happened, I said, ‘Lord, use me however you can use my little store as a way to reach people and let people know about you and your power and your goodness and what you’re capable of doing in their lives.’”
Carroll said after two-and-a-half years of using the Treasure Cove storefront for the nonprofit, the current building became available. At this point, she said the organization needed a building to stay setup.
God’s Hands at Work was hosting a fundraiser the Sunday after the current location, which was previously a church, had closed. A member of the church attended the fundraiser, where Carroll said a building fund would soon be launched, this led to the nonprofit moving into its current location.
The nonprofit has several programs to assist the community including but not limited to, a mobile food pantry, food pantry, financial assistance, employment assistance, medical equipment assistance, Princess Prom Program, Jesus and Me, Back-to-school program and a number of other programs and activities.
Carroll said whenever they cannot provide the needed assistance for someone they try to help refer them out, with 40-50 other agencies within the five counties they serve.
God’s Hand’s at Work is currently working on obtaining some grant funding and have a few projects in discussion Carroll said.
She said the organization runs on the faith of God as there is not a consistent income for the nonprofit.
“We walk on faith every single month,” Carroll said.
The nonprofit is open on Mondays by appointment. A baby pantry, Bundles of Blessing, recently opened and is open the third Wednesday of the month for walk-ins from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Currently God’s Hands at Work is in need of volunteers and donations for the baby pantry and nonperishable and in-date food items for the food pantry.
Carroll said there is also a Blessing Box outside of the service-center that people are welcome to donate items to, she said they fill the box, sometimes twice whenever they are at the building.
There will also be a Christmas dinner giveaway on Dec. 20, Carroll said due to a limited number of available meals, sign-ups will begin shortly after Thanksgiving.
To keep up with the nonprofit, join God’s Hands at Work Facebook group. To volunteer or donate items, contact the Lisa Carroll at 740-645-7609.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.