Metro-East News

Lessie Bates touts resources available to help poor communities

The executive director of the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House met Friday with area pastors, deacons and bishops of all faiths to talk about how they could help get the word out about the resources available there.

Christopher Coleman said he put out the call “to all ecumenical leaders from around the city of East St. Louis to talk about how, together, we could meet the needs of the poor people in East St. Louis and its surrounding communities.” He was pleased with the 36 individuals who responded.

Coleman said everyday decisions are being made in Washington, D.C, and in the state of Illinois by leaders that have a tremendous adverse impact on the people.

“We needed to come together and talk about how we, collectively, are going to service the needs in this area. We also want to make sure that everyone knows what resources are out here to help the poor,” Coleman said.

“We’re going to have to roll up our sleeves, regardless of our religious affiliation, and serve God’s children.”

The breakfast gathering, called “Ecumenical Leaders Caring for the Community,” was a chance to highlight the programs and resources Lessie Bates has to offer to the community as well as an opportunity to exchange ideas on ways in which Lessie Bates can work with the various churches to deal with situations ranging from financial assistance to domestic violence, and job opportunities for teens.

“Our community Youth and Employment Program has 120 youths from all across St. Clair County and the outskirts of Madison County paired with various businesses to give them on the job training experience that can be transferred to the job they are currently working in or take with them to transfer to another job,” Coleman said.

The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, 1200 N. 13th St., began in the early 1900s when a large Bohemian-Slavonic population settled around the National Stockyards in East St. Louis. Over the years, churches in the area began to take a greater role of what the non-profit organization does.

For more information, contact Coleman at 618-874-0777.