Diakonia Hoping To Avoid Opening Line Of Credit

BERLIN — For the first time in its nearly 40-year history, Diakonia is considering opening a line of credit to deal with a combination of rising demands and lower contributions.

In an effort to avoid the risks involved with operating on credit, representatives from the charity organization asked the Berlin Mayor and Council to consider providing $7,500 in funding for next year.

“We do need some financial help in these tough times,” said Joel Todd, a member of Diakonia’s Board of Directors.

Todd remarked that the recent downturn in the economy has had a strong impact on the organization, which provides a variety of services such as temporary housing and a food pantry to those in need. He explained that the weak economy had created a steady increase in the number of those in need while simultaneously resulting in a decrease in funding and contributions allowing Diakonia to operate.

“We are at or above capacity at all time,” said Diakonia Executive Director Claudia Nagle.

Todd pointed out that Diakonia is a unique and important organization for the community; one that not only provides basic necessities for people going through a rough time, but also teaches them how to better manage their money and themselves. He also brought up the fact his organization is one of the few of its kind that houses not only adults, but children as well.

Nagle estimated about a third of Diakonia guests were children and that the organization currently hosts 15 full families.

Todd also revealed that Berlin accounts for a large number of the guests Diakonia receives, yet doesn’t provide the same level of funding as Ocean City, which grants the organization $28,000 a year.

Because Diakonia operates with only about a $500,000 total budget, Todd and Nagle explained that the contribution from Berlin would be a lot more helpful than most people realized, and, combined with other donations and fundraising efforts, could prevent the organization from having to get tangled up with a credit line.

“Things are really bad,” concluded Todd.

The council was responsive to the trouble Diakonia was facing and lauded the role it plays in the community. Mayor Gee Williams added he was glad Todd and Nagle were making their request just before Berlin took care of its annual budget.

“Well, your timing is certainly good,” he said.

The council agreed to discuss the request for $7,500 over the coming weeks.