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Church providing vital services to community in need

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Posted at 11:06 AM, Aug 09, 2022

 Elliott Hollins is a retired public housing worker who lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

He saw firsthand what it's like to grow up in a low-income household.

“There’s people that live in their neighborhoods or on the block or hustling in the streets that never get outside their area,” Hollins said. “If a guy doesn’t have no money in the hood, they’re gonna get some money and they’re gonna get it one way or another.”

Cleveland’s east side has few grocery stores, few big banks and few blocks without boarded-up buildings. What they do have are churches.

“It would be easy to give a person a liquor license in our community than to give us a building permit to build things,” said pastor Aaron Phillips.

Phillips runs the Cleveland Clergy Coalition, which pools the church's resources to provide community programs.

One of the programs provides transportation to a manufacturing plant in the suburbs. The plant offers good-paying jobs and benefits.

"For me to help them be on them, that means a lot. So, it’s just a win-win for me,” said Hollins, who chauffeurs people to work. “That’s fulfilling for me to help these people get their lives on track.”

“When I go home, my mom is so happy about it,” said Franco Stephens, who has been out of jail for two years after serving an eight-year- sentence for drug trafficking. “She doesn’t have to worry about me being out in the streets or whatever, she knew I was at work.”