DayStar Community Assistance Programs.

DayStar Community Program can help people of all ages. Whether it is a child requesting free school supplies or a senior citizen enrolling into Meals on Wheels, resources are available across Southern Illinois, including the counties of Alexander and Pulaski. Any assistance is paid out first come-served to income qualified families.

Much of what is available is the result of money raised from the thrift store known as Madeline’s Mart. This location both allows clothing or furniture to be sold to the public, and it also pays for the rent, housing programs, and clinics. Some clients may even be issued a voucher to shop for free at the thrift store. More details on how DayStar Community Program may be able to help is below.

DayStar Community Program provides a variety of household items and other goods that many lower income families struggle to buy. Many people take having pots, pans, diapers for a baby, shampoo, forks, spoons, small electronic items (radios), blankets, sheets, etc. for granted. There may be some goods passed out in southern Illinois to those qualify.

The inventory of what is available at Madeline’s Mart will change rapidly based on donations. It can also change by season, as boots and winter coats may be offered during the winter months to those living in poverty. If the client has an income, then they may need to pay a little money for the goods at the thrift store.

The DayStar Community food bank – A center is available without an appointment on a first come, first serve basis. It runs from donation across the southern Illinois community, including food drives held by churches, individual donation, contributions from national agencies, and local stores. It will pass out non-perishable grocery items, canned foods, milk, coffee, dry goods, and nutritionally balanced snack packs for children. Though most of the assistance is targeted at to struggling individuals and families in need of immediate assistance to feed their families.

A soup kitchen, known as the Kitchen Table, also is part of their services. This will feed the homeless in counties such as Pulaski and nearby towns. Many of the clients of the Kitchen Table also use the food bank for long term needs.




The pantry may pass out the following goods. Breakfast bars, Peanut Butter and cheese crackers, Bottle water, canned meat, baby formula, and fruit. Also, seasonal programs, such as Thanksgiving meals/food baskets, are available. These will allow each family to prepare its own home cooked meal. The faith based Daystar will also serve a Thanksgiving as well as Christmas holiday feast from the Kitchen Table soup kitchen for those who don’t have a place to go for the holiday.

The Santa Holiday Project provided free gifts to needy children through donations from generous members of the community in the southern Illinois service area. Due to the high demand and growth of this program, it is aided by several different charities, local churches, and other teams.

Counselors at Daystar school refer more than half of the participating impoverished families who receive food from the pantry to this holiday gift program, so it benefits current clients too. These gifts are given out through the store at the agency's office which is stocked with donations of toys, clothing, games, gift certificates and more from members of the community. In addition, local businesses, churches and organization participate in “Angel Trees” and donate to this Daystar Program project.

The Main Office provides a wide variety of Direct Services as part of Outreach, including the following.
-Food, including referrals to a daily noon meal for the homeless or families in poverty.
-Applications and guidance with the completion of applications for food assistance, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
-DayStar Community Program allows free Internet Access and Telephone Usage for finding work or applying for jobs.
-Bus tokens for transportation to a job interview or recurring medical appointments.
-Referrals to Medical Services that are offered by registered nurse s or doctors at clinics. There is prescription assistance, referrals for serious cases; wound care; and treatment of injuries and illnesses.
-Bicycles for the working poor or homeless to travel to and from work in southern Illinois.
-Mental Health Referrals and Services for residents facing addiction and psychological issues.




On occasion, there may be money for paying housing expenses. Or using the Outreach Service, tenants can learn about programs for paying rent or other homeless prevention services. Daystar can also address energy bill needs, such as winter heating bills during the southern Illinois cold weather months.

Outreach is provided by Daystar along with their partners, such as Catholic Charities. Not only may direct financial help be offered, but it is combined with counseling as well. The location is 909 Washington Street, Cairo, IL 62914, or dial 618-734-0178.


By Jon McNamara

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