Leadership Change Underway at Carthage Crisis Center: Bisbees Retiring

Leadership Change Underway at Carthage Crisis Center: Bisbees Retiring
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In 2016, the Carthage Crisis Center turns twenty years old. It’s grown and changed a lot in that time and the new year will bring new leadership.

“It’s kind of wild and crazy in here during that period of time,” says

Marilyn Bisbee as she does a little training with Judy Benton on running the Carthage Crisis Center kitchen during a holiday dinner.

The crisis center not only serves food to anyone who needs it at mealtime

but it’s grown into a homeless shelter.

Executive director Brian Bisbee has been with the center since 2003 and will be leaving in January. He says, “We just were committed to seeing that families were helped. And we saw a lot of homeless families that were on the streets and were basically local people that needed a local place to stay.

They can house up to five families at any given time.

Brian says, “To be able to take care of those little kids that would be sleeping in a car somewhere is a tremendous accomplishment as far as I’m concerned.”

The Bisbees hand over to the Bentons a center that has gone from a budget of thirty-two thousand dollars to three hundred thousand dollars a year and giving away five hundred thousand pounds of food each year as well.

Incoming director Jim Benton says, “The Bisbees have given their lives to the crisis center. We’ve determined, based on all that they do, we have to hire ten people to do what they do. But we’ll do what we can.”

Among their many accomplishments, the Bisbees have added a playground at the Carthage crisis center, but they say they couldn’t do any of it without support from the community.

Brian says, “The very fact that we’re able to do what we do with absolutely no government funds. We’ve been completely supported by contributions.”

Kitchen and housing supervisor and wife Marilyn adds, “There are very few communities, I would say, that have really gotten the picture of what they need to do and stepped up and done it.”

Rallying that support is something the Bentons hope to learn and continue.

Jim says of the Bisbees, “They’re able to communicate and have relationships with the churches and their people which is ideal. That’s what fund raising is. It’s really friend raising building relationships.”

On the day KOAM visited a woman dropped by with one hundred pounds of potatoes to fulfill a need.

Brian says, “They come in everyday wanting to help in some way and somebody comes in everyday who needs help. And we are kind of the connector between the people who have the ability to help and those that need help.”

The new directors, the Bentons, come from a working ranch for drug and alcohol rehabilitation in Florida.

They hope to use those skills to help those struggling with addiction which can be a factor in homelessness.