This May, Roseland Christian Ministries in Chicago, Ill., celebrated the one-year anniversary of its women and children’s shelter ministry. While there are just 13 rooms, all housed at Roseland, by year-end, more than 23 mothers and 65 children had been shown the love of Christ through shelter.
“We have given families a warm and peaceful place to sleep at night, a faith community to support and encourage them, and programs for their kids to participate in,” said Kisha Pleasant, Roseland’s ministry director. “It also means success for the community— seeing women get off the streets is encouraging.”
Roseland Christian Ministries is part of the fabric of Chicago’s south side, where gun violence too often puts it in the news. The morning the shelter first opened, staff received 110 phone calls from women looking for a safe place for their kids.
Roseland previously offered housing for women only, so they were continually turning down women with children. Now, women and their children (from infant to age 13) are provided shelter for up to 12 months. The center is funded by private donors and local churches have supported the ministry through donations of diapers, baby formula, and cribs.
Having the transitional housing within the ministry allows the families in need of support to access other programs.
“Roseland Christian Ministries has been great,” said Danielle Brown, a mom with two sons, served by the ministry. “I am so grateful. I’ve stayed at other shelters, and RCM has shown us love. My sons love the Cadets program and when we move out, we will come back so the boys can stay part of the programs.”
During the summer, Roseland also hosts a free summer camp attended by about 65 kids. Three days a week they offer Bible lessons, art, recreation, and field trips where many in the neighborhood cannot afford other camps.
“It keeps me hopeful to know that on this corner (109th and Michigan) there is a Christian community that has been here for 41 years for the hungry, the homeless, the harassed, and the helpless,” said Joe Huizenga, pastor at Roseland Christian Reformed Church (Chicago, Ill.), the worshipping body of Roseland Christian Ministries. “I’m grateful that I get to connect and serve and use my gifts here.”