GLOVERSVILLE - City resident Jennifer Warner is one of the local women who go to Life Saver Ministries when in need of caring advice or a helping hand.
"They are my lifeline," Warner said of the ministry. "I honestly probably wouldn't be here if they didn't help me when I needed it."
Warner said she attends the ministry weekly for its life-enrichment and exercise classes and says the staff and volunteers provide an important service, giving her the opportunity to live a quality life.
Client Services Director Anne Morgan
leads a discussion during a life-enrichment class for women on Tuesday morning at Life Saver Ministries in Gloversville. More than 25 women were in attendance.
(Photo by Levi Pascher, The Leader-Herald)
Volunteer Michelle Winters, left, and Life Saver Ministries TLC Coordinator Janine Jackson wrap diapers for care packages at the ministry on Tuesday.
(Photo by Levi Pascher, The Leader-Herald)
Life Saver Ministries, at 16 E. Pine St., provides counseling services for pregnant women and life-enrichment classes to about 75 local men and women, Client Services Director Anne Morgan said.
Life Saver Ministries is a nonprofit Christian-affiliated ministry that has been serving people in the area for more than 20 years. Based in Gloversville for the last eight years, it previously was housed at the Perth Bible Church. The ministry's leaders felt it wasn't as effective at that location, so they decided to expand their services in the city, Morgan said.
The ministry was recently granted permission by the city Planning Board to connect its two adjacent buildings at 14 and 16 E. Pine St. to create additional space for storage of materials.
The project expected to begin this spring will involve the construction of a 590-square-foot addition to connect an adjacent residential building with the brick building now used as a counseling center.
The residential building is stocked with two floors of various benefit items. Every time a person attends one of the life-enrichment classes, he or she receives items such as diapers, hygiene products, toys, food and clothing. In addition to that, the people attending the meetings accumulate points, and twice a year they can redeem points for more expensive household items and toys at the ministry, Morgan said.
Morgan said although the ministry has a religious affiliation, anyone is welcome to attend and use the services it provides.
"Originally, we dealt with primarily unplanned pregnancy and felt women that were in that situation didn't really want to come to a church, so we were led to our current location, where the ministry has totally expanded," Morgan said. "We still deal with unplanned pregnancy now, but we deal a lot more with just hurting families. When the girls and guys come to class, they will receive benefit items and hopefully leave feeling relieved that someone cares about them."
The life enrichment classes better equip the people that attend them to deal with things such as pregnancy, childcare, relationships and personal growth issues, Morgan said.
The ministry has a supervised playroom for the children while parents take classes, Morgan said.
"Women don't have to be pregnant [to participate]," Morgan said. "We started that way, but now we have women that are in their 60s and 70s that come. It's really for anyone that is hurting and wants encouragement and wants somebody to be there with them."
Life Saver Ministries is there to help anyone in need, Morgan said, whether the person is struggling emotionally, financially or in other ways.
"There are a lot of hurting people in Fulton County and in this area, and a lot of their hurts come from not having anyone in their lives," Morgan said. "There are just a lot of broken pieces to their hearts, and our classes are designed to reach those needs and say, 'How can we help you put your heart back together?'"
The volunteers and staff of the ministry will listen to anyone's story with respect and courtesy and provide ongoing support in accordance with the needs of that person, Morgan said.
Morgan said the men's groups are led by male leaders and address the issues of fatherhood and providing for the family.
"Everything we do has a biblical foundation to it because there are absolutes and there is right and wrong," Morgan said. "You don't have to believe in God, but it questions what does it mean to be a man? Men were created to provide and protect, and it addresses what are you doing to provide for your family? We address these things and make sure they leave knowing what they can do to be that provider and protector of the family."
She said many people who attend the ministry will decide to volunteer their time to help others and can use the time as community service.
The ministry is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and life enrichment classes are offered for women from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and for men from 3 to 5 p.m. On Thursdays, it offers an excise class from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for women.
Morgan said anyone is welcome to visit for help any day, not just when classes are held.
"Just show up," Morgan said. "... Tell us where you're at and what you need, and we will plug you in with what fits best for you. We don't have requirements here."
She said the ministry gets most of its supplies from individual and church donations, and it gets a lot of products from the Regional Food Bank in Latham.
Many of the women attending the life-enrichment class on Tuesday spoke highly of the ministry and the services it provides them and their families.
"I love the services and use them to help out my family," Shawna Cole said. "It means a lot to me because I would be lost without it. The people here are wonderful, especially when you need that shoulder to cry on."
Alida Scott of Gloversville echoed Cole's comments.
"It helps a lot because I'm a part-time student," Scott said. "It's not just about the stuff they give you either - they are there for me emotionally and spiritually any time I need it, as well."
For more information about Life Saver Ministries or to make a donation, call 725-5777 or email the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.