St. Raymond's Society, an organization whose primary function is to support new and expectant mothers, plans to move into a new home in January 2023.
The organization is hopeful its new location, which is currently the home of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri, will better meet the needs of the community and the mothers it serves.
Ronald McDonald House is selling its property at 3501 Lansing Ave., with the intention of moving within walking distance of the new University of Missouri Children's Hospital that is scheduled to open in 2024.
The transaction is mutually beneficial, the two organizations say.
The move will allow St. Raymond's Society to further its mission in the area.
"The ultimate goal is a stable, sustainable life for both the mother and the child," said Mike Hentges, executive director of St. Raymond's, during an interview Wednesday.
Why extra space is needed
The current St. Raymond's home can house four women, not enough space to accommodate all those who need the support of the organization, Hentges said.
The Ronald McDonald House location has space to house 18 women while they work to get back on their feet. The group is expecting to fill the new rooms quickly, with plans to expand the geographic reach of its care if rooms remain unfilled, Hentges said.
"We know the need is out there," he said. "It's just a matter of how big a radius we need to canvass to fill the rooms."
The house provides rooms to mothers for up to a year with rent and utilities covered by the organization. A longer stay can be arranged at the woman's request if they are showing progress toward their goals, Hentges said.
Since its current home is full, the group has had to find other temporary housing for individuals referred to them, including hotels and apartments, which has become costly.
"The ability to bring them into the home is critically important for the program to work," he said. "Right now, we're out of space. This new location is tremendously important to fill the need that is in our community."
What is St. Raymond's Society?
Founded in 2010, the organization was originally intended only for mothers facing unexpected pregnancies.
Now, the group has broadened its scope of service, helping mothers and families that are struggling to meet the "basic necessities of life," Hentges said.
The program involves the participants setting goals and a staff member coaching them, whether it be returning to school, landing a full-time job or becoming financially stable.
St. Raymond's continues to stay in touch with alumni of the program years after they are able to successfully support themselves.
"They are in our family for life," Hentges said. "If they get back in a bad spot after graduating (the program), we will still help them."
The organization has locations in both Jefferson City and Columbia. The two locations currently combine to support between 10 to 12 residential clients and 10 to 15 community clients annually.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: St. Raymond's Society move to increase number of new mothers it serves