In the early 1970's, it became apparent to religious leaders that people requesting emergency assistance presented a challenge which churches, acting separately, were unable to meet. Congregations and their staffs were increasingly incapable of responding effectively to the volume of legitimate requests for aid. Other agencies, both public and private, administered funds that were restricted by inflexible eligibility criteria. People in crisis were faced with the overwhelming and discouraging task of determining where to turn for help. So it was that Crisis Control Ministry was organized by the religious community in 1973 to establish a comprehensive system of response to the emergency needs of persons in Forsyth County. The ministry opened April 4, 1973, at 930 Patterson Avenue to coordinate the financial and volunteer resources of the churches with the expertise and services of Forsyth County's social service agencies. Reverend Ronald E. Rice, Sr. was our first Executive Director.
The Reverend Ginny N. Britt was also part of the founding of the ministry and served as our Executive Director for 19 years, from 1977 - 1996. Ginny was a tireless advocate for the poor. She led the ministry through a successful building campaign in 1985 and helped to establish Crisis Control's licensed free pharmacy in 1987.
Two other executive directors, Velma Shore and Pat Fromen, served the ministry well from 1996 - 1999.
Crisis Control has grown to 250 supporting congregations and to thousands of requests for assistance from those in chronic poverty to the working poor. The budget in 1974, provided by local churches and a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Poor and Needy Trust, was $64,000. The budget in fiscal year 2012-2013 is $2,410,000.
The ministry opened a satellite office in Kernersville in October 1977 to serve people in the eastern part of the county. In 1985 the Winston-Salem office moved to its current location at 200 East Tenth Street. Through the years, the ministry has helped birth the Samaritan Soup Kitchen, the Church Shelter Program, Habitat for Humanity, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. All of these programs assist our clients in their daily struggle to survive and in attempts to become independent members of our society.
In 1987, the ministry opened the first state-licensed free pharmacy in North Carolina to serve clients with chronic health problems. Area physicians, nursing homes, and pharmaceutical companies donate 85% of the medication dispensed by the pharmacy. The donated drugs are repackaged and, along with purchased medications, are distributed to clients with chronic health problems who do not have the financial ability to pay for their prescriptions and who do not have insurance. The ministry works in cooperation with local healthcare organizations to provide free medication to eligible clients. State licensed pharmacists and volunteers work together daily to assure this critical service for our clients. A full-time pharmacy director oversees the operation.
All of this has been possible because of a strong commitment on the part of the community to those in crisis. Gifts have continued to increase over the years. However, we work constantly to secure additional funding. Goods distributed to clients or funds paid to vendors for clients exceeded $5 million last year.
Consolidated Foods of Chicago, now Sara Lee Corporation, awarded the ministry with its $100,000 Leadership Award in 1983 because, in their words, they "were impressed with the caring and dignified manner in which help is provided." In 2007, we won the North Carolina Center for Nonprofit's annual Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award. We were awarded a Level III accreditation status (top level) from the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics for the work of our free pharmacy, and we continue to be recognized as a 4-star rated charity by Charity Navigator.
Individuals in Forsyth County are daily thrust into crisis situations, and we remain committed to the task of providing assistance. We strongly believe that the ministry is a place to bring together people in need with people who care.