Human services, Women's Center highlighted at chamber meeting

Hebrewz Coffeehouse in Jonesboro hosted the Union County Chamber of Commerce Thursday, April 6, for its monthly meeting.

Chamber president Melanie Lasley announced that the annual chamber golf outing is cancelled. “We’re taking a year off,” she said.

Lasley also mentioned the recent Union County United event, which introduced an online business directory for the county. She encouraged business owners to enter their information to the website at unioncountypulse.com.

Judith Gethner, the executive director for Illinois Partners for Human Service, was a guest speaker. 

She explained that she has been traveling and speaking throughout Illinois, “targeting business people and civic leaders,” because, she said, “most people have no understanding of what human services means.”

Gethner said that human services are “the only thing in Illinois that doesn’t have a state budget.”

“Most people think it’s just a waste of money,” she said. 

Gethner said that business leaders should care about human services because their employees might use them. Examples included child care, senior care, disability assistance and job training, searching and placement.

Gethner said the goals of her campaign were to recruit business leaders as volunteers and board members of nonprofit organizations, receive financial support and spread the word about the importance of human services.

Lindsey Stockhecke, development specialist from The Women’s Center in Carbondale, also gave a brief overview of the center. 

The center’s free and confidential services include:

A 24-hour crisis hotline intervention available at 1-800-334-2094.

Emergency shelter, food, supplies, referrals and transportation.

Individual and group support, counseling information, referrals and education.

Case management, legal, medical and personal advocacy. Financial planning and job training. Transitional housing.

The Carbondale shelter has 36 beds for women and children. The shelter can provide referrals for safe lodging at other facilities for male survivors.

The Women’s Center serves Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Perry, Saline, Williamson and Union counties. 

Stockhecke said that the center served 2,000 clients in Southern Illinois last year. “And there’s a lot more we’re not reaching,” she added.

She mentioned several upcoming events that can help the community get involved with the center.

May 4 is Call to Action. The center asks community members to donate, volunteer, host a fundraiser and get involved in some way.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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