Thanks to GFG donations in Metropolis, Hope Unlimited able to help more people

LINDA KENNEDY | Metropolis Planet

Hope Unlimited Family Care Center's Metropolis site, located at 305 Lincoln St., will be among three local agencies receiving donations at this year's Groceries For Good (GFG) event, set for Saturday, Nov. 23 at both Metropolis' Big John Supermarket and Save-A-Lot. The local center serves parents throughout southernmost Illinois.

Over its 30 years of service, the Hope Unlimited Family Care Center has carved out a unique niche in the community providing vital resources for parents.

"Our goal is to help parents not just survive, but to truly thrive," said Nicole Farley, the center's executive director.

Hope Unlimited serves parents in Paducah and the surrounding areas, including Metropolis, with parenting and life-skills classes.

"Groceries for Good (GFG) allows us to be able to serve our community in an even stronger way," Farley said. "When parents come to those classes they earn 'Hope Dollars' to use in our Learn to Earn Room, which is a place for our clients to shop. It's not just a handout, they've earned everything they receive."

Those "dollars" can be used for necessities, such as diapers and formula and hygiene items for the whole family.

"By implementing a program that allows them to earn certain things, it builds not only their (sense of) self-worth and character but also teaches them the skill of budgeting and how to use their money on things they can't get here," Farley said.

"We want our parents to really begin to look at themselves first as valuable, because we find that when they see their own value, they begin to value their family differently and in a positive way. We are able to, for instance, provide 24 diapers for one Hope Dollar. When they show up on time they get a Hope Dollar, and when they attend their (scheduled) session, that's another Hope Dollar. And doing their homework from the previous week ... that's another Hope Dollar."

Established in 1989, Hope Unlimited has seen itself grow from a pregnancy crisis center to a full family care center and prenatal medical clinic.

Free and confidential services are available from Hope Unlimited Family Care Centers in Paducah and Metropolis.

The timing of Groceries for Good is beneficial to all the agencies it helps support, according to Farley.

"Groceries for Good really brings all these nonprofits together. It allows us, especially at this time of year, to serve our clients," she said. "It takes money to get through the holidays, I don't care what your economic status is. This allows us to really be able to bless our clients even more during the holiday season."

Hope Unlimited serves "moms and dads and anyone that is caring for children in their homes," Farley said. "That could be foster parents, grandparents, adoptive parents. It could be a first-time mom and dad that planned this pregnancy and they want to learn everything they can before and after the baby's here. It could also be for an unplanned pregnancy, maybe a teenage pregnancy.

"We really are serving the entire community, anyone, no matter their background, no matter their socio-economic status. We want to help parents thrive and have the tools to be a strong parent."

According to Farley, the services they provide to their clients can be life-changing.

"We start to see them give back to the community," she said. "It's that mentality of 'I've been blessed, so now it's time for me to turn around and bless others.'"

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