Our Lady's Inn is a facility that helps area women who are in need of emergency shelter. The shelter has two locations, one in St. Louis and one located in St. Charles County.
The organization has been helping expectant mothers and their families in the St. Louis area for 30 years. The St. Charles County location opened its doors five years ago, in a building that was previously used as a nursing home.
Because of the building’s previous history, each family at Our Lady’s Inn has their own private living quarters, which makes the shelter unique.
“Each family has their own room, and their own bathroom, which is unheard of for shelters,” said Betsy Beauparlant, volunteer coordinator and development at Our Lady’s Inn.
Most of the money to operate the facility comes from donors and fundraising, with a smaller portion of funding coming from grants. The shelter also hosts fundraisers and the residents also contribute to the fundraising efforts. Another revenue source is a thrift store, Twice Blessed Resale Shop.
“We use everything that comes in, if we can’t directly use it here, it goes to Twice Blessed and the money made from sales at the store comes back in for operation costs,” Beauparlant said of the donations.
A couple of years ago, the facility started the pay-it-forward project. The project uses money from hand-made items to help with operation costs for the home. The items sold in the program consist of hand-made cards, jewelry and children’s hair bows, all of which the women of the shelter have made themselves.
All supplies for the pay-it-forward project have been donated and the women learn how to make the goods through classes taught by volunteers at the shelter.
“There are wonderful relationships that develop out of it, and for that period of time, the ladies can relax and concentrate on creativity,” said Beauparlant of the classes.
In order to stay at Our Lady’s Inn, the moms have to work or go to school during the day. When they’re not working or in school, the ladies have chores and other things to do at the home.
“We want to give them skills so they can take care of their families when they leave," Beauparlant said. "When they’re here they get a lot of support and we teach them that healthy people have lots of community support."
The shelter stays at full capacity with 12 women and each woman can stay for up to a year. When the time comes for a resident to leave the facility, there is an after-care coordinator in place that helps the women with clothing and the furnishings for an apartment, all of which are made possible by items donated from the community.
“There are so many people from the community that come in and partner with us, and when the ladies see people coming in who love them and care about them, it helps them not feel alone,” Beauparlant said .
Beauparlant said there are lots of ways the community can get involved at Our Lady’s Inn. The facility is always in need of volunteers, from people to teach classes to someone who is good with organization, any area of expertise can be utilized.
There are a couple of fundraising events coming up that the public is welcome to attend. The St. Peters Chick-fil-A is partnering with Our Lady’s Inn for an ice cream social later this month.
The ice cream social is an open house. The event will give the community a chance to come in and tour the facility, have ice cream, Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches and lemonade.
There will be fun for all ages as face painting and children’s water games are planned in addition to the food. The event will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011.
On Thursday, September 22, 2011 the facility will take part in the second luncheon for life event at the Wine Country Gardens in Defiance . The event will feature a couple of Our lady’s Inn clients and their stories, lunch, and an auction to sell some of the pay it forward project items.
For more information on Our Lady’s Inn, contact the facility at 636-398-5375 or visit their website.