Our Mission & History
The mission of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services, Inc. is to provide educational, health and direct outreach services to people in need on James, Johns and Wadmalaw Islands and at the Neighborhood House in Charleston, while encouraging and supporting self-sufficiency and self-esteem.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services, established in 1989, is a non-profit, 501©3 organization sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. A fifteen member Board of Directors governs the organization which employs twenty-four staff members. The organization has no major funding resources, and is almost entirely dependent on community support.
The organization began auspiciously only two weeks before Hurricane Hugo devastated the Charleston area. After dealing with immediate concerns of disaster relief, and in consultation with area residents, Our Lady of Mercy began to dedicate itself to providing services urgently needed in the sea islands area. Services have grown each year since.
Located at 1684 Brownswood Road on Johns Island, Our Lady of Mercy currently extends a helping hand to over 11,000 residents yearly through educational programs, health services and by responding to basic human needs. In partnership with over 250 volunteers, the staff effectively delivers a variety of services, including emergency assistance, dental, prenatal and women's healthcare, lifeskills classes, English as a Second Language and GED instruction, after-school tutoring and a summer enrichment camp. Services are always provided without regard to race, religion, disability or any other extraneous consideration.
In 2005, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services, Inc. incorporated the services of the Neighborhood House in its structure. The Neighborhood House, located at 77 America Street in downtown Charleston, provides lunch, food bank, clothing, seniors and adult education and other outreach services to many of Charleston's residents in need.
Over the years the organization has expanded its Brownswood Road facilities to include an education building and a Wellness Center. Our Lady of Mercy's capital campaign raised $4.6 million to create a new, larger and enhanced building for the Wellness Center, and to help defray the continuing costs of service expansion. The new building was dedicated on December 7, 2008.
Building on the synergy among the services it provides, Our Lady of Mercy seeks to address the undercurrents of poverty and foster the capacity of area residents to improve the quality of their lives and the life of the community.