About Us

About Us2018-03-02T17:44:50+00:00

WHO WE ARE

VOLUNTEERS

Our volunteers put the community in Community Hope Center. We are blessed with over 170 active volunteers of varying ages, talents, and backgrounds. It takes at least 35-40 volunteers to accomplish a typical day at CHC, and we could not operate without their hard work and dedication. Our volunteer coordinator meets with every new volunteer to help each one find the best place to serve at CHC.

CHC Department Directors
Front row, l-r: Nancy Taylor, Linda Robinson, Charlene Worthen, Barb Stumpf, Lenora Bethel, and Martha Smith. Back row, l-r: Dave Kanofsky, Michael Manley, Ron Wooden, Lester Hahn, Lesta Lamb, Sandy Boettcher, and Bob Bethel. Not pictured, Ron Rea

DONORS

Community Hope Center is blessed to have a large and diverse donor base comprised of businesses, churches, and individuals, along with some financial support from corporate, community, and family foundations. Though they may not be seen working to serve people in need the way our volunteers are, they are every bit as crucial to the success of CHC’s ministry, and an integral part of what makes CHC a community.

STAFF
Paul Militzer
Paul MilitzerExecutive Director
Denise Ukena
Denise UkenaAssistant Executive Director
Ann Crane
Ann CraneOffice Manager
Sherry Keller
Sherry KellerVolunteer Manager
Steve Thompson
Steve ThompsonFinance Manager

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lenora Bethel
Trudy Bodenbach
Jim Claywell
Kaela Generally
Mike Koeller
Tom Metzler
Jim Schrempf
Dave Stevenson

EXECUTIVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Martha Smith, President
Amy Maberry, Vice President
Megan Edmondson, Secretary
Roger Bruce, Treasurer

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Leameal and Crystal Davis opened Community Hope Center (CHC) in a former fire station in Cottage Hills, Illinois, in April 1988. Having been brought out of poverty, the Davises sensed God calling them to provide assistance to those who were living in poverty. They were particularly moved to help those in need of food, who often came to the Davises’ home seeking assistance. The Davises solicited food and clothing donations from the community and offered the groceries to anyone who came to them in need. The Davises invited members of various churches to help collect, sort, and distribute food at CHC. The only requirement that the Davises had was that volunteers pray with and for everyone who received food. Prayer remains the heart of CHC’s ministry to this day. We are not a faith-based organization, but rather a Christ-centered ministry.

In its first month, CHC helped 100 people with food and clothing. In 1989, CHC serviced 7,580 requests for assistance. CHC’s network expanded to include food donations from St. Louis-based Operation Food Search, St. Louis Area Food Bank, local grocers and many local churches, businesses, and individuals. Donations expanded from food to clothing, toiletries, and household items. Donors gave monetarily to cover CHC’s growing operational expenses. CHC is blessed to say that the ministry has never incurred any debt to cover expenses. We do not take this blessing lightly, and waiting upon the Lord’s provision for the ministry’s needs, along with careful fiscal management, continues to be a guiding principle today.

By 1996, CHC’s operations were excessively cramped in the 1,100 square foot fire station, so CHC’s leadership began seeking in earnest to find or build a larger facility, and God was about to answer in a big way. On January 15, 1997, CHC received a call from the Bethalto School District with an offer to donate the old Forest Homes grade school and 10 acres to CHC. Over fourteen churches and eleven local businesses adopted projects and rooms to help renovate the school, and by December 25, 1997, the center was ready to be moved from the old fire station to the school, which remains the ministry’s current location at 1201 Hope Center Lane, Cottage Hills, IL.

In 2008 Lyn Cloninger became CHC’s Executive Director. Under his leadership, CHC’s operations were divided into various departments, and department directors were recruited from CHC’s pool of volunteers. At the same time, improvements were made to CHC’s physical space and the efficiency with which services were delivered to clients. These improvements were necessary to handle the growing numbers of individuals and families who came to CHC for assistance and prayer. By 2013, CHC was helping an average of 70-80 client households every day of operation, representing an average 900 individuals a week.

Upon Lyn Cloninger’s retirement in 2014, CHC’s Board of Directors took the opportunity to do some organizational restructuring to better reflect the ministry’s needs at that time. The Board of Directors hired Paul Militzer as Executive Director June 2014. Seeking to build upon the previous directors’ passion for serving people in need with excellence and the transformative power of Jesus, Paul’s first two years at CHC have centered around promoting unity in mission, empowering volunteers, and expanding CHC’s network of support. In 2015 CHC adopted a new mission statement: Community Hope Center – Where help and hope are found in Jesus, capturing CHC’s dual role of offering practical help and gospel hope to individuals and families in need. Community Hope Center is blessed to have a large and diverse donor base comprised of businesses, churches, and individuals, along with some financial support from corporate and family foundations. Though they may not be seen working to serve people in need the way our volunteers are, they are every bit as crucial to the success of CHC’s ministry, and an integral part of what makes CHC a community.