Service Network reaching out

Whether it was the exposure at the recent A.M. Connection or an announced promise of free items courtesy of Target, the North Augusta Service Network attendance nearly doubled at last week's meeting.

The group is designed to share needs and solutions among local groups that work to assist those in need.

During each meeting, representatives of various local service groups have a chance to explain what their recent effort is and how others can help.

Among the efforts that are coming up are:

The FBLA, whose project this year involves honoring veterans in a variety of ways, will hold a blood drive on Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the school auditorium in honor of Veterans Day.

The First Providence Foundation and Learning Center, reported Pastor Alex Pope, are both working to become more well-known in the community. He said the Foundation is working with the S.C. Housing Authority to repair homes of senior citizens. "We're having a difficult time finding people to help," he said.

Kay Hayes who helped head up a recent Parkinson's Walk, noted this year's notoriety has brought the amount earned by the walk to almost double last year's amount.

Rod Barrie announced that Comfort Keepers, 511 West Ave., will hold an open house and Business After Hours Chamber event on Nov. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. in conjunction with a celebration of Comfort Keepers 10th anniversary.

The RECing Crew is the featured organization in the Sno-Cap Drive-In's FUNraising for the month of November. (Rachel Franklin reported she has changed the name from FUNraising to "CAP" - Community Awareness Partnership.) On Monday nights, the RECing Crew will receive a portion of the profits at Sno-Cap.

LesPaul Morgan, representing CSRA Dreamcatchers, reported his group had a successful event, Trunk-or-Treat at Chick-fil-A for Halloween.

Margaret J. Weston's Gail Diggs announced the healthcare facility has received a $5 million grant to build a new facility in Aiken.

Pat Carpenter asked for any possible health for the homeless dinner held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She listed a need for blankets, men's coats and women's coats. "We feed more than 200," she reported.

A Resource Fair is planned for Nov. 26 at the Family Y in Aiken. The fair will showcase services. There will be childcare available.

Sno-Cap has now begun a "Block Party" program on Fridays to raise money for various organizations.

Nita Swift, who works with the MEDs program in Aiken County, said the program has brought $5 million worth of prescription drugs into Aiken County since its inception. She said for those who can't come to Aiken to register with the program, she comes to Community Ministry of North Augusta once a month.

Louvenia Mathews with the Christmas Store Project reminded the group that sponsors are needed to provide Christmas gifts for needy children in the area.

North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover pointed out a model project in High Point, N.C., may lead the way to a reduction in crime over time. He said there that law enforcement sits down and talks to young criminals, in particular, about what they've done and what they can do to change their lives. He detailed the program looks for the root cause of the criminal behavior - no afternoon supervision, no job, etc. - and tries to address that. "The High Point Model is a way of targeting barriers instead of focusing on punishment," said Glover, who reported that in High Point, the crime rate is down 55 percent since the program began.

Brandon Jensen with Target at Augusta Exchange brought several boxes of excessed items from the store for the various service organizations to take with them for use in their respective service.

Peggy Trivelas, who has headed up the group since its inception, announced that Dea Baldwin is taking over the communications aspects of the group.

The next regular meeting is Dec. 6 at noon at Second Providence Baptist Church.