“On the toughest of days, it can be easy to think that we are at this alone, but we must remember that we are not. We’re all on the same team, working to build a brighter future for the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

- Shelene Shrewsberry

Studies show that nearly one third of people have few resources set aside to cover personal emergencies. When the unexpected happens, such as a job loss from a global pandemic, unplanned bills can add up and cause people to pursue emergency borrowing in the form of credit card charges or the use of highly expensive forms of credit like “pay day loans” to acquire quick cash.

COVID-19 made already precarious financial situations even worse for many local families and caused financial instability for the first-time for others who had not previously experienced it. At challenging times like this, the key to finding the hope to overcome life’s obstacles, according to Shelene Shrewsberry, Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) Executive Director, is to “never give up!”

For forty years, CCCS’ mission has been to provide solutions to the “financial problems facing today’s family.” This philosophy broadened over the years to include helping families avoid and overcome financial hardships that have the potential to affect the entire community. With its proven counseling and education programs, CCCS helped 1,998 individuals in 2020.

Shrewsberry said, “I’m encouraged when I see our community working together around a common goal, gaining strength and resilience even when faced with the toughest of situations, like the pandemic, because we’re supporting each other.” CCCS recently launched financial education and training programs to assist individuals with substance user disorders (SUD), in partnership with other local treatment and recovery programs. “I’m hopeful about our efforts around SUD, where we are working collaboratively to help persons suffering from SUD to overcome the root issues of misuse and to deal with potentially triggering situations. CCCS holds an important role, helping SUD clients to overcome financial barriers that might otherwise overwhelm them as they engage in recovery.”

Shrewsberry added that the PACF is an important partner in her work. “Along with its generous grants, the connections fostered by PACF for us to other nonprofits, small businesses, corporations, and civic leaders, are priceless in providing hope to CCCS and our clients.”

Judy and Bruce Holmes

CCCS shared a key board member with the PACF, Bruce Holmes. A Legacy Society member and PACF supporter for two decades, Bruce’s service and broad-purpose giving over the years supported many different local organizations.

Shrewsberry said, “Bruce was a personal ambassador of hope. His heart for service was evident in his actions at every board meeting, committee meeting, and community event. He was dedicated to the organizations with which he was associated; connecting us to others as he saw common ground around which we could help one another achieve our missions. We were so lucky to have him cheering for us, guiding us through challenges, and shouting to anyone who would listen about our commitment to providing financial independence for all.”