Organization: The Center is funded by the Pleasure Island
Ministerial Association and its churches, community organizations, businesses,
and concerned individuals. These contributions maintain the Center and provide
funds for Emergency Aid. Churches and agency representatives determine the
policies and set guidelines. The Center is staffed entirely by
Hand Up: The Center is a Hand Up rather than
a Hand Out agency. Clients are given immediate help with their
financial emergency. This acts as a Band-Aid, while we try to show clients
the way to a more permanent solution to their problem. We provide counseling
for clients who have continual needs and make referrals to other agencies.
In 1988, a lunch conversation between three ministers sparked the origin of
the Pleasure Island Ministerial Association (PIMA). PIMA started with two goals
in mind. One goal was to unite churches to recognize important dates for the
Christian community, and the other goal was to form a united group of
congregations and individuals to help with the social need of residents
in this area.
The PIMA congregations recognized the value of combining their resources to
serve the continuous requests for aid. Catholic Social Services, located in
Robertsdale, was also aware of the area needs and was working to open a small
center in Orange Beach. The two groups worked together, and the Christian
Service Center was opened on June 17, 1991, to serve the Fort Morgan-Gulf
Shores-Orange Beach area.
Volunteers were recruited from the Pleasure Island area and trained by Catholic
Social Services. The Center was located in a loaned store-front in the Pleasure
Isle Shopping Center and staffed by volunteers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Immediate emergency aid and food were offered to those in need. The food pantry
was stocked by donations and funds for aid came through Catholic Social Services,
the area PIMA congregations, and individual contributions.
Today, the CSC is guided by a Board of Directors with representatives from each of
the PIMA churches and other interested individuals. While funding is still received
from PIMA, the contribution base has grown to include the United Way, grants from
various companies, foundations and civic clubs, as well as gifts from independent
community fundraisers, and interested individuals.