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Helping the Homeless in Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois nonprofit organization Project Compassion strives to empower and assist the homeless and low-income women and children. Their mission is to enhance the lives of young women from ages 15-35 in the community through education, compassion, and empowerment. They also help the youth from grades 6-12 who are considered low-income, homeless, or in jeopardy of becoming homeless.

Project Compassion was founded by Rachel R. Jackson in 2005 and has been thriving ever since. They have assisted over 70,000 men, women, and children by providing food, hygiene items, shelter, clothing, life skills, vocational training, and other necessities for life.

The organization also provides assistance with self-esteem, socialization, life skills, and leadership skills. Workshops include topics such as self-esteem, job etiquette, job readiness, financial literacy, health and wellness, and mentoring.

Several different programs within the organization target specific age groups. Striving for Excellence Program focuses on 18-25-year-old women who are considered to be low-income individuals. The Imagine-Me Summer Program is a nine-week summer camp for girls in the 6th-10th grades. Girlz on Purpose Tour is a one-day tour for girls between the ages of 11-18 to navigate self-esteem, education, and character discussions in a fun, energizing, and inspiring day.

Project Compassion has been featured in many magazines like Oprah’s O Magazine, Glamour, Southern Living, Ebony Magazine, MORE Magazine, and others. In 2008, the organization was awarded the Powerful Difference Award by ABC Radio & Pine Sol.

Jackson also made it her goal to receive a proclamation from the Mayor of Belleville, Illinois to declare October 29th as “Compassion Day” in the city of Belleville. The day consists of an outreach event targeting the homeless population in the St. Louis Metropolitan community. They distribute food and supplies every fourth Saturday morning from January to October.

Rachel Jackson is just one of the amazing women in cities all over the world who is doing her part in helping underprivileged individuals to reach goals that they never thought they would ever reach. It is notable that her focus is on women and children since they are the ones that make up the majority of poverty in the USA. Gender inequality, the pay gap, and the ability for women to have children makes this number so large.

You can help by volunteering to assist with office work, inside and outside maintenance, free store organization, special events, and more. The program also accepts monetary donations, non-perishable foods, toiletry items, children’s toys, and other necessities.

The nonprofit accepts the following items year-round: body wash, washcloths, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, trash bags, combs and brushes, lotion, soap, sanitizer wipes, wet wipes, blankets, socks, knit gloves, knit socks, knit caps, sanitary napkins, Pampers baby diapers, baby bottles, baby onesies, and baby blankets.

Contact information

For questions about donations and volunteering, email Rachel R. Jackson, executive director, at or call 618-397-1790.

The Project Compassion, NFP office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 6609 W. Main St., Belleville, Illinois.

Featured Image by Osvaldo Gago on Flickr

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