Neighborhood House Renewal Promise

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Our Lady of Mercy Neighborhood House:

100 Years Young

Neighborhood House, founded over 100 years ago by the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy and operating today at 77 and 79 America Street in Charleston’s Eastside community, has a proud history of responding to the needs of the poor, from the immigrants of the early 20th century to the current residents of the Eastside area, which has 40% of the population living at or below the poverty rate, 10% of which are homeless. The Neighborhood House is the downtown location for Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach.

Today, Neighborhood House provides:

  • A soup kitchen that serves lunch five days a week to an average of 75 people a day

  • Food and clothing pantries that served 4,000 people over the last year

  • A variety of educational programs, including parenting, budgeting, and adult literacy

  • Financial assistance in times of emergency

As we begin our second century, we have taken a fresh and comprehensive look at our operations to assure that we are responding to our clients’ needs in the best and most efficient ways possible.  We have concluded that:

  • The soup kitchen, our largest program, should continue to act as a gateway to our other services

  • We must move from offering piecemeal services to a case management/whole client focus, to best help our clients improve their circumstances permanently

  • To do this, our facilities must be upgraded

Specifically, we will need to:

  • Increase social work and volunteer coordination staff resources including group work and mentoring

  • Renovate our soup kitchen to increase energy and operational efficiency and hygiene

  • Renovate our office/classroom space to provide accessibility, privacy, and a more effective learning environment for self-help groups and peer support groups

Our campaign,” Neighborhood House Renewal Promise” seeks to raise $500,000 to meet these immediate and ongoing needs in honor of the 100th anniversary.

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Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach

For more information, contact us at 843-805-8064 or 843-559-4109 or


Neighborhood House has stood as a beacon of hope for families living in the Eastside community and surrounding areas for over 100 years. Established by the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in 1915, it is currently located at 79 America Street. It is a Charleston single house owned by the Diocese of Charleston and operated by Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. Programs provided within this structure include adult literacy tutoring, computer, budgeting, parenting, art, and sewing classes, as well as periodic wellness and dental screenings. Food, financial aid, and clothing programs are provided in adjacent structures on the property.

In honor of the 100th year anniversary, the board of directors formed a study committee to take an in-depth look at the community, its needs, and services to determine the best plan for the future. At the same time, to better utilize this grand old house and serve the community more effectively, a team of volunteers has come forward, offering to help design, build, and fund a more functional structure. Together, with a renewed promise, the board, staff, and volunteers are dedicated to strengthening the Neighborhood House’s impact in the community for the next 100 years.

  • Why is this project important?
    • On the first floor, a single point of entry for all Direct Assistance/Social Service programs will be created, providing confidential space for intake, referrals, and follow-up in order to help people navigate toward more stable, fulfilling circumstances.
    • Renovations and equipment upgrades to our kitchen facilities will allow us to better serve our clientele during our daily lunch program.
  • The first floor will be renovated, allowing the Direct Assistance team to be relocated here from the soup kitchen, creating a single point of entry for all services.
  • The second floor will be renovated to create usable classroom and program space.
  • The third floor will be renovated to create useable office, tutoring, and storage space.
  • Upgrades to the heating and cooling systems and an addition of an elevator to improve accessibility.
  • Upgrades of cooking equipment and storage facilities in the kitchen area.
  • Expansion of social services, volunteer opportunities, and group services to provide more support to people in poverty.
  • What is the economic NEED?

Annual operations of Neighborhood House represent approximately $360,000 of the total budget of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. Through efficient management of these funds and tremendous volunteer support, Neighborhood House has created a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of this community. In order to expand and improve these programs, we must renovate our facilities to provide adequate and appropriate space to provide our services.

  • Who will administer the project?

A committee of nine members, including two staff members and seven Neighborhood House volunteers, have taken on the leadership of this project. Committee members represent the board of directors, the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, the downtown community, local businesses, and the Diocese of Charleston, and will provide oversight for the project and fundraising coordination.

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