Before September 1981, the people in our community who found themselves in crisis often went from church to church hoping to find someone who could help. Because the church staff had no means of validating their needs or of knowing how to best apportion their limited funds, the situation often ended in frustration for both parties. In response to this situation, seven Concord churches (All Saints Episcopal, Central United Methodist, Concord Associate Reformed Presbyterian, First Presbyterian, Forest Hill United Methodist, St. James Catholic, and St. James Lutheran) organized a steering committee to establish a crisis assistance ministry for Cabarrus County.
On September 1, 1981 the doors of the Cabarrus Cooperative Christian Ministry opened with a handful of volunteers, and a fierce belief in the rightness of its mission. The small office provided financial assistance as well as canned food and clothing, and the needy soon learned that they would be received with grace and compassion when they came for help. As many as 3000 people received assistance during that first year.
Soon after the ministry began, other movements arose to meet the needs not addressed by CCM. First Presbyterian Church, Concord, established the Samaritan House Soup Kitchen in 1983 to serve a hot lunch to the hungry, and All Saints Episcopal opened its doors to the homeless and established the Winter Night Shelter. In 1985, with the support of several Kannapolis churches, Kannapolis Christian Ministry opened in a building provided by Cannon Realty (now Atlantic American Properties). By the end of 1985 over 60 churches were participating in CCM. Within the next few years, at the request of their respective boards, each of these organizations came under the administration of the Cooperative Christian Ministry, where they remain today.
During those early years, the Salvation Army joined forces, providing the space for the Soup Kitchen and Winter Night Shelter. CCM began to share responsibility for the Empty Stocking Fund, a program that still flourishes as an annual joint project between CCM, the YMCA and the Independent Tribune newspaper. In 1989, through the generosity of All Saints Episcopal Church, CCM was given the use of land at 246 Country Club Drive. Capital funds were raised, and the permanent home of CCM was built on that spot. In 1990, 500 volunteers helped to deliver the services of CCM and 105 churches contributed to the financial support of the ministry. The Night Shelter became a year-round facility serving men, women and children during 2000.
CCM emerged as a leader in the community during the response to the 2003 closing of Pillowtex, the largest mass layoff in the history of North Carolina. The crisis presented an economic disaster for our community that would require a collective response. CCM partnered with many public, private, and faith-based organizations through a collaborative effort unprecedented in its scope. The response developed a model of service and cooperation that still exists at CCM's Crisis Center in Concord.
Cooperative Christian Ministry has continued to grow each year. In 2006, over 800 volunteers delivered services to over 20,000 people for direct assistance in some manner of food, shelter, or financial assistance through CCM.
Today, over 130 churches, over 100 businesses and organizations, and thousands of individuals actively support the ministry.
CCM remains committed to its mission:
To provide immediate assistance to members of our community who are experiencing crisis in the areas of food, shelter, or finances while engaging them in a series of actions that will empower them to move beyond crisis.
CCM will continue to evaluate the developing needs of our community. As those needs are identified, CCM will foster relationships and establish collaborative efforts that match the best resources of our community with the most basic human needs. CCM will also seek out or develop new programs consistent with its mission, that will empower individuals and families to ensure a brighter future.
CCM provides crisis financial assistance, food, and counseling. Support for this Ministry is provided by churches, civic groups, organizations, and individuals that give their time and money to aid the people of Concord, Kannapolis, and Cabarrus County.