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December 8, 2013

Armitstead tackles next challenge at Christians Concerned

DUNCAN — Barbara Armitstead came out of retirement to lend help to one of Duncan’s non-profit ventures.

Armitstead is the new executive director of Christians Concerned. Her first day with the United Way agency was Monday. She’s taking over the position recently vacated by Kassie Gilmore.

“I’m very excited about it,” Armitstead said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Christians Concerned was founded in 1969, and provides food and other items to people in need. Much of the work done at Christians Concerned is through volunteer efforts.

Armitstead said the objective of Christians Concerned is to help people get on their feet. The food bank isn’t intended to serve as a long-term solution.

“We just want to continue to grow,” she said. “The board’s mission is not to help people until they’re dependent. They want it to be a helping hand, get people over a hardship.”

Armitstead spent 30 years in Duncan’s banking industry before her husband, Bill’s career moved them out of Duncan for a time. She was a member of Leadership Duncan Class II.

She said she’s looking forward to helping the community through her new position. She said the organization’s volunteers are what make Christians Concerned a successful non-profit.

But the organization could always use more volunteers, she said. And it could always use more food an non-food items, such as laundry detergent, dish soap and toilet paper. Paper bags, especially those with handles, are also needed by the organization to help deliver food to people.

Among the biggest food needs are peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken and canned fruit.

“I am so impressed by the organization of it all,” Armitstead said. “The volunteers have done a great job. They’re organized and know what they’re doing. I just have to stand back and let them do their job.”

Aside from building up the food in the pantry, Armitstead said one of her primary goals will be to inform and encourage people to use the bill round up program through the City of Duncan.

On monthly utility bills, people have the option to round to the nearest dollar. That difference goes to Christians Concerned to serve people in need in the community. The most anyone could give a year is $11.88 through this effort.

“It would help us tremendously,” Armitstead said.

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