On Thanksgiving Sunday, 1968, Wallace M. Alston, Jr., Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, preached a sermon “Outside the Camp: ‘Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp…’ (Hebrews 13:13).” The message was inspired by an afternoon spent with a Head Start social worker, visiting homes in LeeCounty¾ homes which shocked him, cold and dark homes in which people were hungry, discouraged, suffering from the lack of basics like indoor plumbing and heat. He challenged the congregation to respond to such dire need in a very concrete way, all year long, not just at Thanksgiving. Alston also challenged them to unite with others in our community to minister to those “outside the camp.”
From this challenge grew the Presbyterian Community Ministry, PCM, which was founded the following year. Now an ecumenical organization, PCM continues to conduct a ministry of compassion in Lee County. It fills an underserved need in our community, helping families in the areas of housing, health, transportation, utilities, and other areas. PCM makes no-interest loans and administers the Auburn and Opelika Community Development Block Grant funds as well. In 2013, PCM dispensed over $86,000 to needy people in the form of no-interest loans and grants. About a fourth of PCM’s total budget comes from the First Presbyterian Church. The balance comes from loan repayments, Auburn and Opelika Community Development Block Grant funds, and from membership dues, contributions, and gifts.
PCM is located in the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn at 143 East Thach Avenue. The organization employs a part-time coordinator, who meets with the applicants for assistance and provides information and referrals to other community agencies, such as The Community Market and Mercy Medical Clinic. The PCM board of directors meets biweekly to discuss and act upon requests for aid. The volunteer board members, all of whom are PCM members, come from many walks of life and many different churches and faiths.
Need always exceeds PCM’s resources. The PCM office is overwhelmed with requests for assistance due to the troubled economy, the high unemployment rate, and the increase in utility bills. Those seeking help are not only low-income families but also many middle-income families who find themselves in crisis due to illness, lay-offs, and fewer hours of paid employment.
- One in five people in Lee County live below the poverty line (31,500).
- More than one in five people in Lee County lack a stable source of food.
- 32% of Alabama families qualify as working poor.
- In 2013, PCM helped 384 families and individuals, loaning or granting over $86,000.
Please join PCM in helping those “outside the camp.” Your contribution can make a real difference in the lives of members of our community. Please remember PCM when making memorial gifts or to honor a loved one. For more information about PCM, call 334-887-3777 or email email@example.com.