Resource Call Center
Beacon’s Call Center is the heart of our ministry. Between fifty and seventy people call our intake line each week seeking help with financial crises in their lives. The most frequent crises are related to housing; people facing eviction or shut-off of utilities. Some call because they are already homeless. All are seeking help to get through this latest crisis in their lives. These are people who lead crisis-ridden lives because they lack sufficient income to cover living expenses. Frequently, they lack skills in money management and planning ahead, which further complicates their situations. At Beacon they experience something new: not only are they connected with sources of financial help, some of it from Beacon’s Client Assistance Fund, but they also receive help in making a plan to solve their immediate problem. In this way they are able to participate in solving their own problem. But still more is needed. That is why Beacon has launched our Life Coaching Ministry.
The Resource Call Center is staffed by volunteers. Beacon is always looking for those who would like to help out by staffing our Resource Call Center so that we could possibly extend our hours of service.
Life Coaching: Breaking the Chains of Poverty
“We have been known as an assistance agency. We are now becoming a service agency. Where we used to refer people to sources of help, we are now walking alongside our clients to encourage and guide them through the crises to insure their needs are met.” Beacon is becoming a blend of assistance and service. With the launch of the Client Assistance Fund, we have been able, for the first time, to give direct financial aid. But it is not a handout. It is part of a hand up, creating leverage to help our clients help themselves.
Beacon has changed from an agency that refers people in crisis to sources of assistance, to a place where people in crisis find support, guidance, and the offer to travel with them from financial dependency to independence. We have introduced Life Coaching into our continuum of service. Through Life Coaching Beacon offers help in moving beyond the cycle of poverty and repetitive crisis to full participation in the economy. We call this Breaking the Chains of Poverty.
Beacon seeks donations of furniture in good condition to distribute to families in need. Furniture is delivered or picked up first and third Saturdays of each month. Requests for furniture are received through the Resource Call Center. Most requested are bedroom and kitchen furniture. Donations can be delivered to Beacon’s furniture warehouse at other times by appointment.
On the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Beacon extends hospitality to homeless and near homeless people in the downtown Belleville area. We share a hot lunch with them, then gather in a circle for conversation about topics of concern to them. We call it the Roundtable Forum. We have seen a community emerge around that table, a place of mutual caring and support. It is all couched in the Gospel of Jesus, who himself shared many meals and conversations with poor and marginalized people, events that transformed lives from despair to hope and empowerment. One participant put it this way: “I love these sessions because it is a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings with people who listen and take me seriously. That doesn’t happen very often in my life.”