History and Related Organizational Information
For more than one hundred and twenty five years, the Christian Center has been helping individuals and families in need. It is a secular organization serving people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, in total more than 2,000 people annually. This population includes low-income families, ex-offenders, the mentally ill, the developmentally and physically challenged, and, crucially, at-risk children. In our neighborhood, 58.3% of households have annual earnings under $25,000 (see attached demographic data). A special population that we serve is immigrants, many of whom have settled on the Westside. Our immigrant population is African, Asian, Eastern European and Latino and ranges from infancy to elderly. We recognize that the challenges of cultural assimilation can be overwhelming. Some have difficulty managing benefit systems, particularly where there is a language barrier. Our goal is to assist them to find their place, get jobs, and feed their families in a new environment.
Located in an underserved part of the City, we provide and connect people of all ages to the wide spectrum of support services and solutions available at the Center and elsewhere in the community. These include local homeless shelters, medical and therapeutic services, employment services and other meal and food pantry sites. Many of our clients come for help in locating affordable housing and emergency shelter, looking for a way to pay the rent, to get fuel assistance or to help with utilities. Clothing and household items are available in our free store.
We provide a hot, nutritious breakfast and lunch time meal every weekday with about 50 adults and children partaking. We maintain a food pantry giving people a dignified way of receiving free food through our “Client Choice”. This means that families can choose from a variety of perishable and non-perishable foods based on the needs and preferences of the family. Last year the Center distributed 67,353 pounds of food.
We provide programs ensuring that no one is left out of the spirit and tradition of the holidays. Hundreds of turkeys are distributed for our Thanksgiving program each year. Last year we found Christmas sponsors for hundreds of teenagers who otherwise would not have experienced the magic of the season.