The recent ribbon cutting for the new home of the Community Council of St. Charles County caught my attention because it’s now located in my district. And while I was unable to attend the event, I heard that it was very well attended, and I am pleased to know that.
Community Council has played an extremely important role in our community for nearly 70 years. It was founded in 1954 when a group of concerned citizens formed an “organization of organizations” to “promote the general welfare of the community,” according to the Community Council website.
Today it is so much more. I wanted to learn more and wanted to pass on that information to all of you, so I reached out to Executive Director Todd Barnes with these questions.
DH: What is Community Council’s role in the community?
TB: Over the years, we have helped bring the YMCA to the City of St. Charles, loaned funds to Bridgeway, helped bring Crider (now Compass) to the area, created an Affordable Housing Task Force, created Emergency Weather Response (EWR) for our unhoused neighbors in the winter, and built homes in 2008 and 2009 during the housing downturn. Those are just a few examples, and in short, we find opportunities to solve community issues collaboratively.
DH: What outreach does Community Council do?
TB: Through a partnership with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and over 100 area agencies, organizations, governments, churches, and individuals, we initiated and manage the Coordinated Entry process for our unhoused neighbors. After a trust-building assessment, we link our unhoused neighbors to agencies who have the best possible resource connection for their specific needs. We are extremely proud of Coordinated Entry and the difference it has made for our community.
DH: How do you bring people together?
TB: Community Council hosts monthly networking luncheons where timely, topical, best practices are presented by organizations and individuals. Organizations and agencies can participate by providing a resource table related to that month’s topic. These luncheons create valuable connections for attendees.
Additionally, Community Council members can submit information for our weekly e-newsletter that is distributed to over 3,000 contacts. Information includes community happenings, agency announcements, hiring opportunities and resource connections.
DH: Where can people who need assistance find resources?
TB: There is a searchable resource directory with over 600 connections for a variety of needs at communitycouncilstc.org. And, there is a separate Food Resource Guide on that page that is connected to over 50 partners who provide food and education resources. Those who have questions or need additional assistance can call us by dialing 2-1-1.
DH: How can the businesses or individuals support Community Council?
TB: We are a membership organization. Beyond knowing that your investment in Community Council helps agencies and organizations across St. Charles County, you’ll receive discounts on our events and an e-newsletter to help keep you up to date on what we’re doing in the community.
DH: Is there anything else you want people to know?
TB: Yes. There is an opportunity to become a sponsor or participant at our 25th annual Community Services Summit. It is held each October at Calvary Church in St. Peters and this year it is from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 10. We have a great agenda filled with excellent speakers and resource providers who serve children and families.
I learned a lot from Todd and appreciate his time. I want to thank everyone, past and present, who over the past 69 years, contributed in some way to make certain this organization continues to be a valuable resource in our community.