Daystar Community Program, an agency of the Diocese of Belleville in Illinois, seeks to be a visible expression of God’s love by responding to the human needs of the people of southern Illinois and by promoting a just and caring community for men, women and children from all backgrounds.
As the Daystar brings hope of a new day, so may our Daystar ministry bring hope to those we serve. At Daystar we believe that God calls us to a ministry with the poor, the elderly, the disadvantaged; that each person has dignity as a person loved by God; and the quality of life of those living in Cairo and the surrounding counties must be improved. In solidarity with the poor, we strive to listen, share hopes and plans, build a feeling of self-worth in those we meet, assist in whatever way we are able, be present to persons in sickness and sorrow and enable others to be what God calls them to be.
Founded by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in 1978, Daystar Community Program is one of very few social service agencies in and around the community of Cairo, which is at the very southernmost point of Illinois. Cairo is the 12th poorest community in the entire nation. Daystar provides services on a daily basis to the poor and marginalized, primarily in Alexander and Pulaski counties, but also to those in need from other adjacent Illinois counties and the neighboring states of Missouri and Kentucky.
Daystar operates a food pantry, three mobile food pantries, Madeline’s Mart Thrift Store and a soup kitchen, The Kitchen Table. Daystar’s outreach program provides financial assistance with mortgage or lease payments, utilities, medical expenses/prescription medications, transportation, furniture and appliances and for emergency situations, such as when a residence is damaged by fire or extreme weather conditions. In-home visitation/assistance, crisis intervention, home health and advocacy services are also provided. Special Daystar programs include a Thanksgiving Day dinner for the elderly and disabled and Christmas outreach for children and their families.
Daystar Volunteer Opportunities
Summer programs for youth from universities, Catholic high schools and church youth groups have been an ongoing part of Daystar for 27 years. Youth and adults volunteer in the Cairo community and nearby areas to help residents with minor home repairs, painting, gardens, clean-ups and other needs – no task is too small or too large. Contact Sherry Miller for additional information and to schedule your volunteer experience!
Daystar offices and thrift store are open to the public 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; afternoons and all day Wednesday are reserved for off-premises social outreach, including in-home visitation for homebound, mobile food pantry visits and other special client needs. Visits to Daystar are encouraged and welcomed; call to set up a date and time!
Donations of food, clothing, household goods, furniture, medical equipment and monetary donations are always needed and graciously appreciated.