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Saint Helenas Parish Social Ministry assistance programs.

The challenging job market in New Castle County Delaware and nationwide is causing many families to seek help for everything from housing to food or assistance in acquiring new job skills. This is where the Saint Helenas Parish Social Ministry can be used as a resource. The non-profit carity will both direct a client to resources in the community and in some cases offer there own financial assistance as well, including meals from the Emmanuel Dining Room.

All throughout New Castle County, the lack of housing inventory is a problem. There is a limited supply of affordable homes or apartments for low income residents in Wilmington to rent. A goal to establish safe and affordable housing is a critical issue in the community.

Saint Helenas Parish can often provide information on homes and affordable apartments in the Wilmington area. There are also charities that offer a Transitional Housing. Any type of support is combined with programs that educate people on ways to maintain their lease agreement too. The can learn about their rights and responsibilities. If and when they struggle, the charity can also provide information on places to turn to for financial aid in a crisis.

The Parish Social Ministry has programs specifically designed to eliminate barriers that keep families living in poverty and earning a low income. This is a form of case management. It is for people facing homelessness, the unemployed, working poor and those individuals that are in need of crisis intervention. All of this is available from the church ministry to help them become secure and stable in their lives.

Caseworkers provide support and referrals to immediate assistance. This is generally used by dozens of families per month. As part of the process, they interviewed and assessed to determine how to resolve their crisis situation. The immediate services provided by Saint Helenas are not designed to provide long term stability, only to provide a sense of short term relief to the client. The long term self-sufficiency will come after that.

Transitional Housing involves offering formerly homeless people access to low cost rental homes. The person can only live their for a defined period of time. It will offer the tenant the ability to continue to save money and build toward future goals. The housing will create a stable environment for the family as they transition back to an independent life.




It is a multiple month program in which case management, a savings incentive plan, educational opportunities and child mentoring are available to clients. The person who enrolls will need to pay a portion of their income for the monthly rent. The ultimate goal is for them to live in their own rental unit or own a home outright.

Saint Helenas Parish Social Ministry Family Support and Development Services is available for clients who require longer term case management. The staff from the non-profit will offer them in-depth guidance to create a self-sufficient life. Many tools are used in this to assist clients including the Family Inventory of Resources and Stressors assessment tool.

With the help of this process and the attention from a Family Support Specialist, the person will identify areas of strength and problems to help eliminate their unstable lifestyle. Areas that are usually addressed may be emotional resources (personal and problem solving), financial support, Physical health, employment resources, and even Child education programs for the family. Other needs can be addressed by Saint Helenas Parish Social Ministry as needed.

A family action plan is then created and implemented with established goals to help the family progress towards self-sufficiency. Those clients are offered instruction, guidance, support and referrals to other local assistance programs through their designated Family Support Specialist.

The relationship between an individual and their Saint Helenas Family Support Specialist holds each party accountable for their designated responsibilities towards meeting established goals. Weekly meetings ensure accountability towards meeting these long term goals. Generally, every three months a formal evaluation will take place.

Saint Helenas Parish Social Ministry runs a food pantry that offers struggling families access to nutritious, non-perishable food every year. The center is staffed by dozens of volunteers who assist applicants with making their grocery selections and then helping them transport it to their cars. This Wilmington based food pantry is one of the only available location that serves the local community Monday thru Friday.

Other perishable goods may be passed out in New Castle County from time to time. During certain periods of the year, the Food Bank provides weekly fresh produce, milk, or dairy goods. This and more is provided.





The Emmanuel Dining Room and Meals on Wheels are two additional services by the Mission. These programs tend to focus on the elderly, the mentally as well as physically disabled in Wilmington.

Saint Helenas Parish Social Ministry affiliated adult education opportunities are available to at-risk clients through Educational Services. These programs try to tackle the necessary skills and tools needed for a person to meet goals and attain an independent life. Examples of just some of the topics offered include Computer Classes, Open Computer Lab, GED Training, Money Management, Typing, Resumes, and Job Searches.


Wilmington families that live by the church can contact them for support. The address is 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, Delaware 19809. Or dial (302) 764-0325.


By Jon McNamara

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