This month the mission committee is highlighting charities in East St. Louis. Recently, Bill Kreeb, the current director of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House took the mission committee on a guided, narrated tour of Neighborhood House, Trinity Outreach, the Griffin Center, and the Christian Activity Center. He provided a bus and driver to shuttle us from site to site as he rode along and gave us information about the history of each charity and it’s current functions and needs. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the tour and learned a lot. All were impressed with the dedication of the staff and how much is being given to lift people out of poverty in the East St. Louis area. It made all of us want to help more by volunteering in one of these charities. Although all the charities and programs viewed were impressive, the Lessie Bates Davis program has a special place in our hearts as it is a Methodist supported mission. The committee hopes to soon have a list of volunteer opportunities or “jobs” to share with FUMC congregation that are needed at Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House.
According to the Lessie Bates Davis website, the mission of LBDNH is to empower individuals and families to move out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. There are thousands of children and families in East St. Louis who are suffering tremendous hardships, who often have no one to turn to, and have given up hope. As a United Methodist Center, the Neighborhood House believes that “in God’s Name all things are possible.” This mission addresses the immediate and long term physical and spiritual needs of youth and families.
The LBDNH programs are located in five buildings in East St. Louis. The main office is at 1200 North 13th Street. The Neighborhood House addresses basic human needs by providing food; clothing and emergency help with medical, utility and rent expenses and school supplies. They often need volunteers for their food pantry, especially in the summer months when Americorp volunteers are not available.
Additionally, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House provides training and support for new and young parents with high risk predictors for abuse and neglect, operate quality pre-school programs and run after-school enrichment programs for teens. They help troubled youth, ages 11 to 17, by working with individual families utilizing the case management approach. They assist individuals with job searches, access to job training and employment coaching. Until recently, the homemakers program provided the elderly with in-home household care, transportation to help them remain in their homes, a day care program offering healthy activities for seniors with disabilities and respite for caregivers. Unfortunately, due to the state not paying what it owes Neighborhood House, the programs for the elderly had to be discontinued. Recently 117 employees of LBDNH were laid off due to lack of funding.
In each program, LBDNH uses the wraparound approach when dealing with the client. They provide multiple services to individuals and their families to ensure quality of life and improved outcomes. Finally, the LBDNH works with other regional agencies when applying for grants, in order to use funds effectively and efficiently. They attempt to address needs region-wide and to foster cooperation among organizations. Neighborhood House employees have many stories of transforming lives with their services and efforts. Let’s help support this amazing charity that is doing God’s work.
We will be collecting donations for Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House during the month of June. You can place your donation in the container located in the Helping Hallway. If you would like to make a monetary donation please make the check to FUMC and then mark Lessie Bates Davis on the envelope and in the “For” line of the check. If you would like to volunteer at one of the programs at LBDNH, or have questions, please contact Linda Gruchala at email@example.com. The following donations are needed:
- Disposable diapers, pull ups, wipes, lotion, shampoo, baby wash.
- Sheets/Quilts for cribs
- Infant layettes, baby swing and/or bouncer, baby bottles, bibs, socks
- Educational toys, books, puzzles
- Canned goods & non-perishable food items
- Blankets, fans, bed linens, towels
The Mission Committee