Chester Eastside at St Paul's has been providing life- and spirit-sustaining services to our namesake city and its residents since 1985. We focus both on Chester’s present and its future, offering an array of programs that has evolved with their needs.
Our outreach is concentrated in three distinct, yet often overlapping areas: Intergenerational Education, Emergency and Healthy Food Initiatives and Community Engagement.
During the school year, our hallways are filled in the afternoons with children participating in the Phoenix After School Club, designed for students in grades K-8 to augment classroom instruction and promote learning, development and well-being. It was successfully adapted as a virtual model while schools were shuttered during the height of the pandemic.
The program morphs in the summer into Camp Phoenix, a month-long opportunity of “learning and doing” experiences in reading, language arts and STEM, enrichment clubs and field trips. One of the most visible clubs is the Chester Eastside – St. Paul’s Community Garden, which allows children to combine the values of teamwork with growing, harvesting and enjoying the literal fruits (and veggies!) of their labor. The youngsters who tend the beds divide a portion of the harvest, with the remainder used by CEI’s emergency and healthy food initiatives.
Hunger Safety Net provides eligible families with enough bagged food to provide each member with three meals a day for six days. It is coupled with additional requests through Emergency Food, which provides food to anyone who expresses a need. The 100,000 meals offered annually by our Food Ministry show no signs of decreasing.
As on-site classes and activities return post-pandemic, CEI plans to resume:
· Saturday technology training (for students involved in the after-school club)
· Food Matters! /Food Matters Kids! (nutrition education targeted to adults with diabetes or heart disease/children’s healthy eating)
· Mothers Club (helping young mothers improve their parenting skills)
· Hi-STEP (an alternative learning environment for adults experiencing difficulties with the GED)
· Hot congregate lunches served several days a week as part of our Food Ministry
CEI is also excited to be involved in the Wellness Center, a project launched by St. Paul’s and Episcopal Legal Services. The free clinic will be available to clients twice a month.
For more information visit https://ceichester.org/ or call 610-872-4812