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With humanity and dignity, we endeavor to provide meaningful services and processes which can assist people who are hungry, homeless or disadvantaged to improve the quality of their lives.
Open Pantry Community Services, Inc. is a private, non-profit social service agency, which provides comprehensive services to people who are homeless, hungry, or disadvantaged. Established in 1975 and incorporated in 1977, Open Pantry began as a single service agency but quickly responded to the various needs of this diverse population with expanded services. Our original program, the Emergency Food Pantry (EFP) provides groceries and non-perishable food to people in need on an emergency basis. In 2003, the EFP distributed enough non-perishable food to feed over 24,000 individuals, nearly half of whom were children. Open Pantry has provided prepared meals to the City of Springfield's homeless population on a daily basis since our Loaves and Fishes Kitchen began in 1980. Lunch and supper are available seven days a week to anyone who comes to our door. In 2003, we served nearly 92,000 meals. Staff members at the Open Door Social Services program provide case management, housing search, and substance abuse counseling to people who are homeless. Services were provided to approximately 1,200 individuals in 2003. In 1982, Open Pantry opened the first shelter for single women in Springfield. The focus of the shelter shifted to families in 1988. Jefferson Avenue Shelter serves approximately 35 families a year. A second shelter was opened in 1988. At the request of the Department of Transitional Assistance, this shelter was converted to a Teen Living Program under the auspices of the Department of Social Services in 1995. The Teen Living Program served 38 teen mothers and 43 children in 2003. Both the Jefferson Avenue Shelter and the Teen Living Program provide temporary housing for women with children who are homeless. Staff members provide families with a wide range of advocacy services and skills training. Rutledge House is a safe, sober transitional living facility for single women who are homeless. The emphasis of this program is maintaining sobriety through regular participation in programs of recovery and mutual support from members in the household. In 2003, 15 women used the services at Rutledge House. Our Holiday Meals program provides Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners at the Springfield Civic Center. Everyone is welcome to participate, no questions asked. Approximately 2,500 meals are served each year. During the summer of 2001, guests and staff of our Loaves & Fishes Kitchen began a softball team in an effort to provide recreation and build community. The team was a success and in 2002 we formed a non-profit softball league with six other non-profit organizations.
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