Cuivre River, CoBank donate $10,000 to The Sparrow’s Nest, Our Lady’s Inn
Hidden in the back of a narrow, tree-lined road, a nondescript two-story house sits quietly near a new housing development and just a short walk from strip malls, fast-food restaurants and more.
A young mother walks in, holding her sleeping baby following a recent trip to the doctor’s office. A second young mom is at work, a place where her strong work ethic and willingness to learn has led to a recent promotion and a boost in her pay.
“We want them to know we are their safety net,” said Carissa Figgins, The Sparrow’s Nest executive director and founder.
Several miles away in a rural area between Weldon Spring and Defiance, a toddler walks down the hallway of what used to be an assisted living facility and into a playroom. Her mother is nearby, smiling as her child grabs plastic food for visitors.
“We want it to feel like home,” said Peggy Forrest, Our Lady’s Inn executive director.
Indeed, this is home — and a chance to get on a path for a brighter future.
Both The Sparrow’s Nest and Our Lady’s Inn are maternity homes and a safe haven for homeless, pregnant or parenting mothers who in many instances have nowhere else to turn.
Both non-profit organizations are located in St. Charles County. Each were recipients of $5,000 “Sharing Success” grants from Cuivre River Electric Cooperative and financial partner CoBank of Denver, Colo. Funds will be used to continue providing housing outreach for homeless mothers and their children.
Cuivre River Electric and CoBank each contributed $5,000.
“Serving our community is a core cooperative principle. The Cuivre River Board of Directors takes this responsibility seriously,” said Ted House, Cuivre River Electric board member. “It is with great joy that we are able to contribute to the mission of Sparrow’s Nest and Our Lady’s Inn maternity homes. These fabulous organizations not only change lives, they save lives. They make a real and lasting difference through love, compassion and discipline by promoting the sanctity of human life.”
The Sparrow’s Nest welcomes teenage mothers who are pregnant or have a child under the age of 5. Since 2013, staff and volunteers have helped more than 60 teenage moms and their children, most from the local region. The shelter is licensed to house up to eight children, or any combination of moms and their babies.
Our Lady’s Inn opened the St. Charles County facility in 2006 to provide shelter and care for homeless moms residing in Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties. It can accommodate up to 12 mothers age 18 and older, and their children. The organization also operates a shelter in St. Louis. Since 1982, Our Lady’s Inn has helped more than 6,000 mothers.
The mothers can stay up to a year at both maternity homes. During that time, they will be provided resources to help them transition to independent living.
Young moms at The Sparrow’s Nest are required to attend school or GED courses. If they have a diploma, some form of post-secondary education is expected of them.
“We have a choice to not give up on teenagers,” Figgins said. “We know we’ve had an impact. There is no judgement, there is no hand slapping. We are proud of what we do.”
Older mothers at Our Lady’s Inn are tasked to assist with household chores at the shelter in addition to gaining employment. Two years of support also is offered to each family when they leave one of their two facilities.
“They have to learn to juggle everything,” Forrest said.
Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Troy with a branch facility in Lake Saint Louis, is the largest member-owned electric distribution cooperative in Missouri. It provides service to more than 63,500 residential, business, commercial, industrial and agricultural members in Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties. For more information, visit www.cuivre.com or call (800) 392-3709.
CoBank, headquartered near Denver, Colo., is a $90 million cooperative bank servicing vital industries across rural America. For more information, visit www.cobank.com.
(L-R) Diane Saale, Cuivre River Electric board vice president;
Our Lady’s Inn Executive Director Peggy Forrest;
and Our Lady’s Inn Director of Counseling Angelica O’Neill.
(L-R) Denise O’Mara, Cuivre River Electric board member;
The Sparrow’s Nest Executive Director/Founder Carissa Figgins;
and Ted House, Cuivre River Electric board secretary/treasurer.