OLM outreach receives $500,000 challenge grant

JOHNS ISLAND — The Kresge Foundation recently awarded a $500,000 challenge grant to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach to help them build their new Wellness House.

The sisters of Our Lady of Mercy provide free health, education and outreach services to needy families on Johns, James and Wadmalaw islands.  

They recently started a capital-expansion campaign to raise $4.5 million for the construction of a 4,500-square-foot Wellness House and an endowment to sustain it.

Sister Mary Joseph Ritter, director of the outreach center, said they are thrilled with the grant.

“This will (help) us to build the new facility and expand our services,” she said.

Last year, dental treatments and prenatal care were provided to 3,000 people from the cramped quarters of a double-wide trailer. The sisters also gave out food, clothing and medicines, and sponsored parenting programs, literacy classes and after-school tutoring sessions.   

Virginia Romano, a spokesperson for the Kresge Foundation, said the OLM center exemplifies many of the values they seek to support.

“We applaud their ongoing efforts to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged people while addressing the root causes of poverty,” she said.