Jax BLM Donates $1,500 To TEOSA

By Benjamin Cox on December 9, 2020 at 9:34am

From L to R: Alexia Helmer (BLM-JAX; Seirra Helmer (BLM-JAX), Alan Bradish, Ward 3 Ald. Brandon Adams; Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford; Matt (TEOSA client); and Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard

The Jacksonville TEOSA received a major donation yesterday afternoon from a local social justice group. The Jacksonville Black Lives Matter group donated $1,500 to the overnight shelter yesterday in a ceremony on location at 948 North Main Street.

Jacksonville Police Chaplain Alan Bradish says the donation came at the right time: “We got a $1,500 donation from Black Lives Matter. Seirra Helmer and Anthony Stephens were there on site to present the award. It just came at a great time as we were getting the TEOSA opened up and going. We are going to use that money to help alleviate the deficit on the weekends for evening meals. We utilize the [Spirit of Faith] Soup Kitchen Monday through Thursday for the evening meal, but over the weekend, there are no local meal providers for homeless individuals. We were grateful for that. It came at a good time.”

Helmer told the Journal Courier that BLM Jacksonville had raised the funds over the summer for future activities, but decided that they wanted to do something more immediate to help the local community.

The facility opened for operations on Monday and has served 3 individuals so far. Bradish says he expects that number to rise when cold weather continues this week. He says that the shelter has received enough donations for towels, sheets, and coats. He says anyone wishing to donate to the shelter should call ahead because he doesn’t want the shelter to have an over abundance. Bradish says that the TEOSA would like to get in the Christmas spirit instead: “We want to thank the community for all of their generous donations and response. One thing we haven’t received, and somebody may have one in their attic or garage, is an artificial Christmas tree. I think the folks at the TEOSA would appreciate a little Christmas and festivities, so it would brighten up their evening. If someone has a Christmas tree with lights that they aren’t using this year, we would even be glad to borrow it. It doesn’t have to become ours, they can have it back at the end of the season if they want.”

Bradish says he is also seeking donations for one gift for each person utilizing the shelter on Christmas Eve. He says members of the public can contact Bradish for a list of possible gifts.

Bradish says he is having one more volunteer training session this coming Saturday from 1-3PM. He hopes the session will bring about more volunteers to cover the weekend and overnight shifts at the shelter. He says that it would be a shame if they had to close after just opening the shelter because of a lack of staffing of volunteers.

If interested in volunteering, providing donations, or if you have further questions, please contact Bradish by phone at (217) 719-9358 or by email at jpdchaplain@gmail.com.