HERRIN, Illinois — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) announced a $20,000 grant sponsorship to the Herrin House of Hope, a community network committed to fighting area poverty. Consisting of local churches, businesses and volunteers with a heart for service and stewardship, the Herrin House of Hope supports residents who are unable to meet their basic needs. Grant funds will support operations as the Herrin House of Hope continues to offer free care for those who need it most — including daily hot lunches, GED classes, an auxiliary food pantry, thrift store, emergency housing, utility assistance, skills development training, spiritual support and more.
“We depend on the compassionate spirit of our community members who donate their time and money to help those who are less fortunate,” said Pastor Troy Benitone, one of the Herrin House of Hope’s founders and a leader at Community of Faith Church. “Add to that generous gifts from local civic organizations, businesses and partners, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, and it is simply amazing what the Herrin community has done and is continuing to do.”
BCBSIL recently announced the sponsorship at the Herrin House of Hope’s 10th annual Family Fun Day on Sept. 12 – a free, full-day hybrid event, complete with food and entertainment, courtesy of the Herrin House of Hope team. Community members enjoyed a silent auction, cake walk, car show, food trucks and more. A real-time broadcast was also available for residents to enjoy the event online.
Through partnerships with community-based organizations across the state, BCBSIL is connecting those in need in Illinois communities with local support and resources as part of its Wellness Can’t Wait initiative. For this grant, all proceeds go toward supporting the ministry, which has seen increased demand throughout the pandemic.
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is honored to present this grant sponsorship to support the work of the Herrin House of Hope in addressing educational attainment and food security,” said Kim Morse, sr. director of customer service at the Marion Service Center. “The Herrin House of Hope has continued to meet community needs despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are so grateful for their efforts.”
From 2013 to 2021, the Herrin House of Hope has served:
- Nearly 299,554 meals for adults and children in need
- More than 10,000 persons through its auxiliary emergency food pantry
- More than 5,000 persons in the thrift store
- More than 300 students via its on-site GED Program led by John A. Logan Jr. College
- More than 11,000 free summer meals to children ages 0-18 in the first five summers of the program
"We’re beyond pleased to accept this sponsorship from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, and we’re grateful for their belief in our vision for a stronger community,” said John Steve, director of the Herrin House of Hope. “From the 18,000 days our volunteers have given to serve others to donations and sponsorships like this one, we’re committed to working together to help remove barriers to wellness for everyone in Herrin.”
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing and activating future possibilities to make the health care system work better for our members and our communities. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About the Herrin House of Hope
The Herrin House of Hope is a ministry that helps the needy in the Herrin area. It is sponsored by the Herrin area churches, businesses, and residents who are unable to meet their basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. But beyond that, the dream of the Herrin House of Hope is to help provide guidance, training, and encouragement to enable many to become independent and self-sustaining. The vision of the Herrin House of Hope is to serve as a clearing house for help provided by many churches and governmental agencies. This enables those in need to easily access the help that is available and assures that the assistance provided goes to real and legitimate needs. For more information, visit www.herrinhouseofhope.org.