Giving Back: Golden Cross Senior Ministries

Giving Back: Golden Cross Senior Ministries

Golden Cross Senior Ministries works to meet a necessary but often underserved community: senior citizens. Golden Cross Senior Ministries is a Christian ministry with a mission to enhance the quality of life for all seniors served by Wesley Living. That includes the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of those seniors who live in affordable housing, independent living and assisted living communities throughout West Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Eastern Arkansas. Wesley Living has created 31 affordable living communities, serving more than 2,000 under-resourced seniors who live at or below the national poverty line and pay government-subsidized rents.

 

Golden Cross takes care of the personal needs of those individuals. “Our goal is to stand in the gap between what they have and what they need,” said David Kabakoff, president of Golden Cross. “We provide material support and social capital. They don’t want to be a burden. We’re talking about a fiercely independent generation. And the needs for what we’re doing will only grow as more people age.”

 

One of the organization’s most compelling initiatives is providing remedies for homeless seniors. “Imagine someone in their late 70s with nowhere to live. A late-life job loss or catastrophic medical bills. They have things that get in the way,” Kabakoff said. The organization had 30 new homeless cases last year, a number it expects to repeat in 2019. One way Golden Cross provides support to homeless seniors is through a move-in kit that provides all the daily use items and a starter supply of food needed to start a home. The organization also helps fund events for residents, which are vital in the constant quest to battle loneliness, despair and depression by helping to build opportunities for social engagement and relationship building.

 

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Wesley Living celebrates 50 years this year. It started when Rev. Jerry Corlew saw how senior citizens were impacted by the construction of the interstate system in Memphis, specifically what is now known as Sam Cooper Boulevard. Those individuals who were displaced from their homes for the construction of the highway had nowhere to go. Wesley Living provided the affordable housing necessary and Golden Cross came alongside to complete the ministry. “They had shelter but little else,” Kabakoff said. “People have significant needs beyond housing. We help turn shelter into sanctuary.”

 

The housing communities are spread across the Mid-South, from Millington south to the airport area, Bartlett, Raleigh and multiple locations Downtown. Memphis has the highest concentration of housing followed by Dyersburg, Tennessee. Other communities are in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Murray, Kentucky, and across various towns in West Tennessee. Communities range from 24 residents in Moscow, Tennessee, to 283 in Midtown Memphis and everything in between. “The whole concept is these are affordable housing retirement communities should be just as nice as anything else,” Kabakoff said.

 

Golden Cross Senior Ministries depends on the generosity of the community to provide its services. Financial donations are appreciated, and Kabakoff encourages individuals or groups to consider fulfilling a move-in kit that costs about $300 each to create. Golden Cross operates on donations, net proceeds of its annual golf tournament and income from its endowment. Whatever someone donates to the organization, 100 percent goes to residents. For more information about how to donate, volunteer or to participate in the 19th Annual Golden Cross Golf Classic on September 12, go to goldencross.org.

Memphis Partners

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