St. Raymond

St. Raymond’s Society staff and residents celebrate Christmas.

For 10 years the St. Raymond’s Society has been helping new and single mothers get the tools they need to stand on their own.

The organization was founded in 2011 by Columbia resident Mike Hentges and has spent the past decade offering assistance to expecting or single mothers. Having a child while lacking the proper resources needed to care for one can be a scary experience. With that in mind, the St. Raymond’s Society was created to offer resources that could help them with their circumstances.

“We serve mothers who are homeless or are approaching homelessness,” said Mary Chen, who handles Community Relations and Marketing for the organization. “We offer traditional housing for the homes we have here in Jefferson City and in Columbia. We also offer services to single moms who don’t need to come to live in our transitional home but may need help with other parts of their life to become more self-sufficient.

“If (the mothers) come and live in a house they go through a goal setting and attainment program, where our assigned a life coach works with them to develop an individualized program for what specifically they need to work on,” Chen said. “We offer that same type of program to women outside the home, however, those who live us typically stay six months to a year, and the program for outside the home is typically 12 weeks.”

While the coronavirus pandemic has lowered the group’s capacity for how many residents can stay in their homes at this time, the organization’s top priority remains client safety. Chen said they have made sure to follow all the CDC guidelines for social distancing, which includes wearing masks and distributing COVID tests for residents before moving into a facility.

“As far as events go, we’re waiting to see how the vaccination rollout continues,” Chen said. “We’re anxious to host another one of our Shine events, where we feature our client’s success stories and raise funds for the services that we provide but we don’t want to schedule until people can attend safely.”

While remaining cautious, the St. Raymond’s Society is eager to get the word out for their next big gathering. Funding comes entirely through private donations, so events that help this process are greatly missed by the organization. However, for anyone able to offer to donate their time or money, Chen said that they can do so directly.

“I would suggest anybody interested in helping us to visit our website, srshelp.org,” Chen said. “It gives you a lot of information about the organization. There are a lot of opportunities there for monetary donations which is certainly very helpful. Especially, during these times when we haven’t able to do our regular fundraising efforts.”

The St. Raymond’s Society also has volunteer opportunities for people willing to work with these mothers on building up specific attributes. Chen explained that parenting experts have come in to demonstrate parenting classes while accountants have come in to help these moms with their personal finances. Volunteer opportunities for youth, church, and civic groups to assist with house maintenance or a diaper drive are also very helpful as well, she said.

Chen said the work the St. Raymond’s Society has helped over 500 women in mid-Missouri and that the organization is planning to continue doing so for many years to come.