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Published Tue, Dec 18, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Mon, Dec 17, 2012 05:50 PM

Guide to Giving series: Serve the Need in Johnston County

- newsobserver.com
President Norwood Williams with first scholarship recipient Erica Chrisp at Clayton High School.
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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- Serve the Need in Johnston County is a non-profit that was formed by a group of Johnston County residents who shared a concern that many residents in their county had needs that were not met. Started in 2008, the non-profit gives scholarships to students, builds wheelchair ramps, gives gas cards to veterans to get to job interviews, and acts as a first responder to help families when a catastrophe occurs.

“Whatever the need is, we’re there, so we serve the need,” said Dr. Norwood Williams, the group’s president.

Williams, the founder of the non-profit, has a background working with children with special needs. He and his wife, Kristin Williams, who served as a special education teacher, as well as a principal, started Serve the Need when they were retired as a way to help others.

The non-profit works with local and national partners. Locally, Serve the Need has a partnership with Clayton Area Ministries. By working together, Serve the Need can pick up where CAM leaves off. Williams said that just last week, Serve the Need helped a woman referred to them by CAM who needed money to pay two weeks of utility bills because she was unable to.

Several other partnerships make the non-profit’s work have a far reach. One partnership with Johnston County Community College gives a $500 scholarship to students at the community college who pursue a degree in special needs education. The student can then go on to East Carolina University to earn the degree, and come back to Johnston County and be hired as a special needs teacher.

To help with emergency relief, Serve the Need works with a national partner, the Red Cross. When a family’s home burns down, the Red Cross is usually only able to provide lodging for them for two nights. Then Serve the Need can step in, said Williams, and shelter the family at a Comfort Inn for up to a week.

The far reach of the non-profit encompasses many areas of service. Another group who they try to support is veterans. In the past two years, Serve the Need has built 59 wheelchair ramps, many at homes where disabled veterans live. They also provide gas cards to veterans to be able to attend job interviews if they otherwise wouldn’t have the money to go.

“It’s not a requirement that we’re paid back for these services,” said Williams.

To make a donation, visit servetheneedinjc.com. Donations can be mailed to Kristin Williams, Secretary - STNinJC 2121 Powell Drive Clayton, North Carolina 27520.

More ideas

In this season of giving, we are featuring local charities in conjunction with The News & Observer’s Holiday Giving Guide.

The charities submitted information about the need for volunteers and monetary contributions of various amounts.

To see a larger list of charities, visit The News & Observer’s online database at http://bit.ly/givingguide.

James: 919-553-7234

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More Community

Donations needed

$10 would buy toys for a boy and girl

$20 would buy diapers for a family with babies

$50 would buy a gas card for a veteran to travel to medical appointments and job


Donations go toward

• Building ramps for the elderly, disabled, and veterans and assisting with small home repairs

• Providing Special Education Scholarships to students at JCC leading towards teaching special

needs children in the Johnston County School System.

• Providing emergency assistance to help address an urgent need requiring immediate attention,

such as help in paying past due utility bill

• Providing gas cards to veterans to travel to medical appointments and job interviews.

• Sponsoring a sit-down thanksgiving meal for families in need of food and fellowship

• Providing toys for children and gift cards to needy families at Christmas

• Providing access to an online directory of services available in Johnston County

• Being first responders when emergencies occur, such as fires, floods, tornados

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