HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) — With 2023 here, many people have already committed to New Year’s resolutions. If you’re still looking for a way to improve yourself this year, FOCUS in Harris County could use your help. Kathy Carlisle, executive director of FOCUS, estimated that her organization needs about 20 volunteers.

FOCUS, which stands for Fellowship of Christians United in Service, is a 501 C-3 non-profit, faith-based organization that supports those in need in Harris County. Its main service areas that it needs volunteers for are a food pantry; a thrift, boutique and furniture store; emergency services and the Experiential Arts Center (EAC).

Carlisle said the food pantry is open every Tuesday and Wednesday and that it serves anywhere from 65 to 85 families a week.

“Our food pantry is different from all other food pantries,” she said. “It’s a store. And we allow people to come in and shop. They also can meet with a pastor and have prayer. Everything that drives our ministry is dignity and choice and pride. And so, we feel like it’s important if someone’s struggling that they can choose their own food.”

Carlisle said the food pantry ministry is very labor intensive.

“And then we also have a homebound ministry where we take food to 50 homebound people once a month,” she said.

Carlisle said that the thrift, boutique and furniture store is a major source of money for FOCUS.

She explained FOCUS’s emergency services.

“We pay utilities for people,” she said. “We pay rent, not as much as utilities. Sometimes, if we have a homeless person or a family that’s been burned out, we put them in a hotel for a night or sometimes even a week until they can get back on their feet. The challenge that we have in Harris County is that we don’t have any homeless shelters or emergency shelters or anything like that. So people in Harris County, unless they can find something in Columbus or LaGrange, they have nowhere to go.”

Carlisle said the EAC is for children in the first through 12th grades.

“And we teach between 12 and 15 classes a semester,” she said. “And it ranges from, we teach ballet, drama, art, sign language, sewing, cooking, cosmetology, gardening, guitar. So we teach all of those different classes.”

Carlisle said the purpose of the EAC is to build “character, faith and leadership.”

“So all of the kids come in, and they take a 30 minute leadership class,” she said. “And then whatever value that they’re working on, it’s kind of part of their dance lesson or their art lesson or sign language, whatever they’re working on.”

She said FOCUS would love to have a volunteer at the EAC who is experienced in a martial art.

“So whatever someone has a talent in and they’re willing to share it, then we can have a class and register students,” she said.

If you would like to volunteer for FOCUS, call (706) 628-9955. For more information on FOCUS, visit https://www.focusfriends.info.