Harrison County Services

Below is a list of services we provide in Harrison County:

Emergency Financial Assistance provides a coordination of allocated funds and other donations to meet the crisis need of a life-sustaining utility that is in termination, eviction from housing due to non-ability to pay rent, medically necessary prescription medications, or to provide non-emergency transportation for employment or medical appointments.  All crisis needs must be verified and eligibility established.  Holding clients accountable for providing specific documentation and, in some cases, paying a portion of their bill helps to instill the value of maintaining personal responsibility and helps preserve and promote positive self-esteem.  Through treating clients with the utmost respect while assisting in the provision of essential needs, both immediate and long-term, program activities help to alleviate psychological strain and preserve and validate the worth and dignity of each person we serve.

Trained professional staff provides coordination of funds and advocacy on behalf of the client enabling clients to maintain a sense of dignity while ensuring that donated funds are effectively expended to procure needed resources.  This system of coordination also helps ensure that clients do not access more financial support than is needed for a particular request.  Clients may  have to secure documentation and/or present documentation to other agencies to complete the assistance process.  Client independence is also promoted through policies and procedures that limit the number of times a client can receive assistance for the same need within a twelve month time frame.  These parameters facilitate using community resources in a manner that provides the maximum benefit to the greatest number of clients, while not enabling clients to become dependent upon our assistance.

Through coordinating funding to meet client needs, the Emergency Assistance Coordinators not only help alleviate the psychological strain experienced by clients that can impair their ability to function calmly and efficiently, but also role models a process for successful problem solving.

Education about additional resources and budgeting as well as referrals to other programs to secure other needed resources not only reinforces positive outcomes, but also improves the awareness of resources, budget and problem solving abilities, and a sense of hope.

 Food For Harrison is a program of great collaboration.  The Connecting Link, Inc. assists 13 viable food pantries within Harrison County by helping clients go through the application and screening process.  As clients apply for needed food our staff verifies their residency, need for assistance, and makes referrals to each pantry based on geographic location within the county and the number of families each pantry can serve during their hours of operation.  With this process in place we can assure that clients are not receiving duplication of services and that food supplies are distributed fairly and food banks are not over-taxed with more need than they can handle.  We can also provide referrals to those food banks equipped to handle crisis or emergency food needs.  Each food bank is scheduled to operate on different days each week and referrals are made accordingly.  This alleviates the need for clients to travel all over the county in search of food.

 Holiday Happiness is a collaborative initiative involving area agencies, churches, businesses, volunteers, and many community participants.  The Connecting Link, Inc. serves as the coordinating agency that quantifies the need and develops the means to satisfy the need.  Clients make application to receive assistance during four specific events during the year: 

  1. Beginning with “Build-A-Backpack”.  Clients may request help with the provision of school supplies for their children to begin the school year.  Such items may include pens, paper, pencils, crayons, notebooks, glue, and scissors are then loaded into an age appropriate backpack and given to the children prior to the beginning of the school year.  This program is provided to children attending Harrison County schools, ages 5 years to 18 years of age.
  2. “Great to be Thankful” is designed to feed individuals and families a wholesome holiday meal.  Food baskets are prepared for each family according to the number of adults and children in the home.  Each food basket contains a frozen turkey or ham (or a grocery store gift card for the equivalent) and all of the shelf stable foods to prepare a complete holiday dinner.
  3. “Spread Some Merriment” is designed to help provide some holiday joy in the lives of the needy children in Harrison County.  Toys, clothes, and other items are given to families to provide “Christmas” for their children ages birth to 16 years of age.  In some cases holiday food is also provided for those families with the greatest need.
  4. “Hop Into Spring” is designed to help provide some Easter joy in the lives of the needy children in Harrison County.  Baskets of food will be available to those who sign up during the appropriate dates and times! 

Each event requires many staff hours of collaborative efforts with community and business donors to provide Holiday Happiness for each needy family.  Collaborative efforts are also realized as other agencies share their client lists with us to ensure that there is no duplication of services with the clients and that individuals and families have their needs met for each event.  Connecting Link, Inc. holds several sign-up days and the families may choose which events they are in need of assistance.  They have the option to sign up for all events.


Budget Counselling: Sometimes clients need assistance figuring out how they are spending money, where they are spending too much, and how to cut back. This is why we offer budget counselling. We will explain the differences between 'wants' and 'needs,' examine the client's monthly income and expense reports, and develop a plan that the client can stick to and that will help them become self-sufficient once more.

Our end goal is always to help the client become self-sufficient so that they won't need us in the future. We love to help people, but even more we love to see them stand on their own once we have assisted. It is rewarding for us to be able to see our clients turn their lives around, so we will offer whatever resources we have to assist with this ultimate goal.