Hundreds of women and children have been welcomed over the last 30 years at Holy Angels Shelter in East St. Louis.
The shelter was born from a need for general housing for families — mostly women and children — who were living in jeopardy, either on the streets or in vacant or condemned housing.
A number of “success stories” were told Oct. 2 on the feast day of the Guardian Angels before Father Kenneth York offered a blessing.
The women, who were not only housed and fed at the shelter but also received assistance in applying for aid, job training and eventual moves to permanent housing, spoke of what it meant to have the opportunity to stay at the shelter.
Some said they didn’t know what they would have done without the shelter. It literally saved their lives.
Paulynn Snyder, social service coordinator who has been at the shelter from its beginning, talked of the courage of the women who have come over the years.
These women must bring their children and place their families in the hands of those who run the shelter, trusting that they will not only give them a place to stay but also protect and guide them so they can move on to a better place.
The women testified to those facts as they remembered what it was like to find shelter there.
Their words encouraged those who are now trying to find their way to better housing and training.
The shelter stays open because of the generosity of donors who step up to provide monetary and other assistance to the shelter.
For more information on how to give, please call Catholic Urban Programs at 398-5616, or go to catholicurbanprograms.org and click on the Donate Now link.
Story and photos by LIZ QUIRIN