Bea Shafer Outreach Center
During 1994, St. James Church was informed of a generous contribution that was included in the estate of Bea Shafer, a parishioner of St. James who had worked as a Food Pantry volunteer. Her bequest was specifically earmarked for “outreach and to feed the hungry”. This donation, supplemented by monies obtained through a special funding drive managed by Eleanor Pierson (which raised 40% of the total required funding), enabled St. James Church to construct the “Bea Shafer Outreach Center” to support its outreach programs and to provide a proper home for the Bradley Food Pantry.
The Outreach Center located at the rear of the Church property, behind the Church Office, was constructed under the direction of Ron Humer, a Warden of St. James Parish and a professional in the construction business. Building permits for the Outreach Center were obtained on October 22nd 1997; construction, which included building an associated handicap ramp, was completed in July 1998.
Consistent with the wishes of Bea Shafer, today the Outreach continues to provide a proper home for the Bradley Food Pantry, and private and discrete meeting place facilities for:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Groups, an international mutual aid movement, founded in 1935, with the “primary purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety” through their twelve step program of spiritual and character development and their twelve traditions stressing anonymity, altruism, and inclusion for all who want to stop drinking. Both the twelve steps and twelve traditions have been adopted by other self-help fellowships. Two groups of local men meet at the Outreach Center on different evenings, once per week. In addition, one group of local women meets on another evening, also once per week.
- Al-Anon Family Groups, an “international fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experiences, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems,” which was founded in 1951. The groups “help families of alcoholics by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.” One local Al-Anon Family Group previously met at the Outreach Center one evening each week; due to declining membership, they currently do not meet in the Outreach Center.
- Overeaters Anonymous (OA), a worldwide fellowship of experience, strength, and hope where members respect one another’s anonymity. OA employs their own literature, a twelve step program, and twelve traditions to help people “with problems related to food including but not limited to compulsive overeating, binge eating disorders, bulimia, and anorexia.” One local OA group previously met at the Outreach Center one morning each week; due to declining membership, they currently meet in homes rather than the Outreach Center.