Churches United brings back CareLink for all of the Quad Cities

Local News

Local places of worships are providing some help to manage tough financial times.

Churches United started its CareLink program in 2006.

This week the ministry is reestablishing the program across all of the Quad Cities.

It provides emergency funding for rent, deposits or utilities.

Nearly 150 local churches fund the CareLink, which provides one-time assistance of up to $200 once a year per family.

For the past year, it hasn’t been available in Moline, East Moline and Davenport after a partnering agency was no longer able to manage the verification process.

CareLink recipient Khalid said, “My friend referred me to this church to assist me.”

Khalid is the most recent of many people to find help through Churches United.

Khalid said, “They give me a good chance and they give me a good opportunity to assist me.”

The Care Link program is making sure his gas bill gets paid this month 

Churches United Associate Director Betsy Vanausdeln said, “Just to help him with his utility bill was huge for him and I know that relieves some of the pressure so he could provide food for his table.”

But for the past year, that Churches United program wasn’t able to serve everyone in its footprint.

Executive Director of Churches United Rev. Melvin Grimes said, “Had gone dormant because we could not find a social service agency to pick up doing the extra vetting.”

Rev. Melvin Grimes said many agencies are already burdened with their workload. 

So Church United is bringing it in house retooling, the program and adding an intern from St. Ambrose helping to complete the process.

Intern Paris Toney said, “One person might be facing eviction and that affects not just them but maybe they have kids, other people who are dependent on them, so it means a lot.”

And while the main goal is aid with rent or utilities.

Rev. Grimes said, “The possibility that any of us are one paycheck away from having some hard times.”

The program isn’t just a means to one end but can be a path to fulfill other needs for families.

Vanausdeln said, “Connect them with a food pantry in their area so they can receive food. We can point them to one of our three hot meal sites.”

Churches United also operates Winnie’s Wishes, a resale shop and Winnie’s Place, a shelter for women.

For this ministry, it’s a calling of faith supporting their neighbors. 

Churches United told Local 4 News if there’s a need they can’t meet, there are other agencies they can turn to.

CareLink continued last year in Rock Island, Bettendorf and North Scott.

As part of the retooling, Churches United looks to offer financial literacy classes.

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