COVID-19 is adversely impacting all of us one way or another, but some of the hardest hit are the vulnerable families we serve at LifeWise. Families are not able to go to work because their children are home from school, while others have had their hours cut or lost their jobs outright. Families are having a difficult time having their basic needs met.

How We Are Helping

  • We are distributing food, household essentials and diapers to the community on Thursdays through a drive-up line in front of our building to ensure families do not go hungry as their income is impacted.
  • We are enabling families to keep working by providing childcare.
  • We are staying in touch with our scholars remotely and ensuring that they have what they need to do their virtual learning, such as laptops and/or internet access.
  • Our tutors are working with scholars remotely, helping them with assignments and ensuring that they are completed on time.
  • Our social workers and other staff are doing daily mental health check-ins with our youth and adult participants via Facebook Live and phone calls.
  • We created an online check-in where moms can complete an anxiety/depression inventory and request that diapers, books and kid activities be delivered to their home.
  • We are calling our senior participants and caregivers and setting them up with home delivered meals and home delivery services for their medications.
  • We are checking in on our immigrant participants specifically because they are more isolated, and we take them supplies as needed.
  • We are active in responding to questions, concerns and needs as they are brought to our attention.
  • We continue to have some staff in the building during normal business hours, while others are working from home.

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Our Community Food Distribution

June 4 marks our 12th week of our community food distribution. We distribute food on Thursdays at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm (until we run out). We provide perishable and non-perishable food from all five food groups. The number of bags a family receives depends on their family size. While the majority of people drive up during the designated times, we are also doing home deliveries to our home-bound seniors and others who can’t get out.

We’ve been serving an average of 250 families per week. To date, we’ve distributed 9,032 bags of food and household essentials, as well as 19,000 diapers, at a cost of over $305,000!

How You Can Help

  • Make a monetary donation to support our efforts in helping families. If you are not financially impacted by the crisis, please consider helping families who are by donating your stimulus payment to our efforts. Donations of $500+ are eligible for MO tax credits! Learn more about tax credits.
  • Donate food from our most needed items list.
  • Organize a group food collection.
  • Sponsor one week of our food distribution. The current cost is approximately $15,000.
  • Donate to our new LifeWise Participant Recovery Fund (details below).

Please contact Jennifer March at jmarch@lifewisestl.org or 314-627-1228 with any questions.

If you wish to designate your donation towards the Participant Recovery Fund or Food Distribution, please leave a message in the “Add special instructions to the seller” section during check-out.

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LifeWise Participant Recovery Fund

We created the LifeWise Participant Recovery Fund to help our participants, many of whom are among the most affected by the shutdown of business from the COVID-19 crisis. They are experiencing job loss, reduced hours and loss of childcare.

Many of our families won’t receive unemployment benefits or the stimulus checks. Our Certified Financial Social Workers will use the Recovery Fund to get our families through this difficult time in a dignified way. In addition to our normal financial coaching and economic mobility programming, during this crisis we will help our families with their immediate needs of food, rent and utilities.

Our History

Our story began in 1902 when Kingdom House was founded as a settlement house. Middle class men and women provided education and resources to help the growing immigrant population of St. Louis. They created a place of hope, refuge, learning and connection. We’re incredibly proud these ideals have endured even as the community around us has changed and life situations are more challenging.

Our organization has experienced its own metamorphosis as it adapted to meet the needs of our participants in this changing environment. We listened to and learned from them. As we did that, we continued to move away from crisis service transactions toward holistic transformations. Our priorities have shifted to focus on an individual’s overall well-being.

Today, we have a model that is based on educational programming fused with personalized and supportive coaching. We see our participants taking measurable steps to better their futures. This evolution of our fundamental vision and approach led us to choose LifeWise STL as our new name in 2019. It conveys what we are about — helping people at every age live wisely.

The LifeWise Market

Prior to the crisis, we operated a healthy food market in our building, which has been temporarily closed due to social distancing guidelines.

The LifeWise Market was open to the community, providing low-cost access to fresh and healthy foods that would otherwise be too expensive for purchase. There are many community options for free canned goods, but this model is unique in its provision of inexpensive fresh and frozen alternatives. Not a traditional food pantry, our market provides a dignified, quality shopping experience. The market is another example of how we provide a hand up, not a hand out.

The market is heavily subsidized. Groceries are sold at prices lower than at typical discount grocery stores. We accept cash and SNAP. Donated items help offset the cost of purchasing more expensive fresh foods.

We have a partnership with neighborhood low-income senior housing centers with the goal of providing low-cost fresh and healthy options and no-cost non-perishables. Unlike our traditional participants, seniors don’t have access to other shopping alternatives.

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