My family, like many of yours, celebrates the holidays by preparing and sharing meals. My daughters are prolific bakers, so we always have pies, cookies, and sweets. For me, the time spent with my girls in the kitchen, and later, with friends and family sharing a meal, brings us closer together. Community is often defined by the time we spend together building traditions over food. St. John’s Community Services works to build stronger, more vibrant communities through a number of services. We support individuals to find jobs, homes, and activities where they are valued, and that are meaningful to them. We also work to ensure that people have fellowship and meals, year-round.
Many individuals we support through our Community Participation/Day Services find a sense of joy and meaning by volunteering in the community. On a typical day, individuals we support provide over fifty hours of volunteer services in their communities. That’s over 13,000 hours of volunteer work every year! In Tennessee, volunteers supported by St. John’s deliver meals to members of the community who are unable to leave their homes. Not only does this service bring a hot meal to someone who might not otherwise get one, it also brings a smile and a few moments of conversation for individuals that are often isolated.
Volunteer work also makes a difference in the lives of those we support. One young man, Koby, recently moved out of his parents’ house and into his own home with housemates supported by St. John’s. Independence was new to Koby, who had just finished high school, and he was looking for new ways to become a more active part of the community. At first, delivering meals was uncomfortable for Koby, as he had to meet so many new people, but soon, he grew more comfortable and used his time delivering meals to gain new social skills.
As we look to the future, we are considering ways to continue working to advance opportunities and support for people living with disabilities, but also to support opportunities for other people facing various challenges. We recently expanded services to Ithaca, New York. Our operations now include a shelter for people experiencing homelessness and an emergency food pantry. In November alone, St. John’s provided 1,611 meals to those in need. While our support is year round, during the holidays we will work to make sure everyone has a special meal and people with which to enjoy it.
The work of St. John’s touches every aspect of the daily lives of those we support. From meals, to housing, to increased independence in the community, our work is life-changing. Hundreds of individuals across six states and the District of Columbia rely on support from St. John’s each year. In 2017 alone, St. John’s provided over 25,000 hours a week of direct support to almost 700 individuals. Your support is essential for us being able to continue to provide the highest quality of services we and to support people to develop a sense of community. I hope you will support us as we expand our work to new regions, include more individuals in our programs, and enable those we serve to live their best life. Please consider a making a transformative gift of $25, $50, or $100 to show your dedication to St. John’s and your community. Your contribution enables us to continue and grow our work advancing inclusive communities where every person, regardless of circumstances, has the right and opportunity to live their best life.
I thank you for your continued investment in our mission and those we support!
President & CEO
St. John’s Community Services