n a difficult year when several Chicago nonprofits and service providers were forced to close their doors, Breakthrough Urban Ministries has not cut a single staff position or cut back on any of our services. This is all thanks to your continued and generous support.
We have much to praise God about for the way we’ve been provided for in 2009. Besides some highlights below, we have been able to provide a new venue for community partnership and pride, and start building a stronger support system for our former guests who re-learning how to live on their own.
After significant funding came in at the end of 2008, we rolled into 2009 with newly expanded service hours at the Breakthrough Joshua Center for the first time in its 17-year history! Finally, Breakthrough was able to assist women in crisis 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. By the first months of the new year, we were already experiencing the positive impact this had on our ability to better serve our guests.
Now that both transitional housing shelters operate 24/7 throughout the year, guests have even more access to support and services. In 2009 our two on-site health clinics provided medical care to 237 first-time patients, many of whom may not have otherwise received care.
With financial, prayer and volunteer support from a group of volunteers, a new youth library and literacy center was built to benefit community members and the students participating in the Nettie Bailey Student Achievement Program, Breakthrough.s after school program for grades K-8.
This year, 23 graduates of the Nettie Bailey Student Achievement Program are attending college. With the innovative, ongoing efforts of our Program and the benefits of having access to the Breakthrough Network, we expect the number of college bound students to grow in the coming years!
We planted a small, urban garden at the Breakthrough Ministry Center. The greens we harvest will be used in meals prepared and served to homeless adults who live in our transitional housing shelters.
This year, 80,000 nutritious meals were served at the Breakthrough Ministry Center and Breakthrough Joshua Center, thanks to our donors, Manna Ministry volunteers, and our ongoing partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The West Side Food Delivery Network was established, which facilitates the delivery of food to 10 other food pantries on Chicago.s west side.
In 2009, Breakthrough distributed approximately 200,000 pounds of food to families in our community.
We began a single room occupancy program, called Launch PAD, for young men ages 18-24. The men live in a dorm-like setting at the Breakthrough Ministry Center. While participating in the program, they receive leadership training, assistance in pursuing educational or vocational goals, and are equipped with vital life skills that prepare them to experience self-sufficiency.
As the program began this year, five young men enrolled and twenty-five volunteers are sharing time and knowledge support. Since many of the young men had been considered to be at risk for becoming homeless, Launch PAD was modeled, in part, from input from our own staff members who have assisted homeless adults.
We turned our community food pantry into the new and improved Breakthrough Fresh Market, a client choice alternative that simulates a shopping experience for those who need grocery assistance. In addition to the fresh food and other goods, community shoppers have access to a bevy of other essential services like legal aid, food stamp assistance, financial management workshops, housing assistance, and more.