In our coming days of Advent, we look forward to the promise of hope that lies within the spirit of Christmas. It is a time for spiritual renewal, for ingathering with family and friends. We celebrate and share with those around us. Even drivers are usually more polite! If that’s not a miracle, nothing is. The power of Christmas and Advent lies in touching that which is good in us all.
This year, coming slowly out of a pandemic, we see many still struggling with economic hardships, and we at California Council of Churches think we can offer a glimmer of light for them – with your help. What a better ongoing Christmas gift can we give those whom we serve than help for financial assistance that can get them through hard times?
We have long been allies with Community Development Finance, a nonprofit organization, in Oakland, CA. They run the Community Check Cashing service in the Fruitvale neighborhood. It looks like any other check cashing place, is thus a familiar credit source for the poor, the unbanked, but the services are like no others.
First, they are not usurious. Second, they use comfort with the check cashing operation to give access not only to short term lending help but to teaching financial literacy to those who fear the traditional banking and lending services – with good reason.
Despite being located in Oakland, Community Check Cashing is available for both short-term and long-term loans and credit counseling education to anyone in the state, anywhere they live.
But to do this for the poor, those without access to computers and printers, we could use your help in reaching that population and assisting them in filling out their applications, transferring the few required documents, and helping them do online counseling.
Many of you in various congregations have made debt relief and access to credit a key part of your mission. If you are interested in having a partnership with Community Development Finance (CDF) and acting to assist the unbanked with improving their financial health, we invite you to connect with CDF to help people get that access.
What is needed by your congregation is:
A computer with internet access
A scanner to upload documents
Assistance in filling out and transferring documents and with setting up financial coaching meetings
Computers or laptops or books or phones with cameras by which applicants may do credit counseling education if they don’t have access on their own.
Please feel free to contact Community Check Cashing for more information concerning serving as a liaison with them. Their phone is (510) 848-1174. Ask to speak with Dan Leibsohn, the Executive Director. He will then refer you to the Store Manager and Counselor, Luis Diaz. Please tell them you are allied with the Council of Churches, too.
For more information on their lending programs please see their web sites either here or here.
We hope you will add this service and educational program to your work in debt relief and financial hope. It may give someone the best Christmas present ever: skills and resources to carry through their lives.