By Hannah Finley for The Island Connection
Residents of Johns Island are getting ready to recognize the accomplishments of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach during the past three decades. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 21, the community will enjoy an oyster roast, barbecue and sides, local beer, wine and live music, to honor and celebrate with an organization that has changed thousands of lives over the past 30 years.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach opened its doors in September 1989. At that time, it wasn’t clear if the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy would be able to make a difference, and it was impossible to predict the story that would unfold and the thousands of lives that would be changed in the process.
From the very beginning, from Hurricane Hugo relief to the “NunBetter Roofing Company” to the emergence of Neighborhood House to the Wellness Center moving from a double wide trailer to a beautiful building, the mission has remained steadfast. Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach believes in community first, assisting their neighbors in need and helping them achieve a path to self-sufficiency.
For those who haven’t had a chance to visit the special place that Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach has become, here is a snapshot of a typical day. Community members file into the dental clinic, hopeful for relief from a debilitating toothache. A glowing mother-to-be walks in, eager to hear the heartbeat of her baby in the OBGYN clinic. Neighbors stream in for an English-as-a-second-language class as they work toward a better future for themselves and their families. Excited screams and giggles come from youngsters enrolled in the after-school program. Social workers set goals with clients, working together to plan a better future toward self-sufficiency. Job seekers walk in, ready to submit resumes and pick out a suit to wear to an interview from the clothing closet. A line of seniors waits to get their monthly food box. Families shop in the food pantry, excited to be able to put dinner on the table.
At Neighborhood House, the soup kitchen is full and hot meals are being served. Social workers are busy scheduling case management appointments and signing up new members for the Bridges Out of Poverty class.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach works with more than 360 volunteers, partnership agencies and community collaborators to help 6,000 community members a year, seeing what’s possible when the community comes together for good.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach is located at 1684 Brownswood Drive. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit olmoutreach.org/30 or call 843-559-4109, ext. 109.