hope begins with you.
Cunningham Children's Home became a mission and ministry of the United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women (UMW)) when Judge Joseph and Mary Cunningham deeded their home to the women of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1895. The Cunningham's felt confident that the women would sustain great care for the needs of the children. Today, as a mission and ministry of the United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women (UMW)) of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, we rely on their loyal support. In addition, United Methodist churches and individuals play a key role in providing the basics that help our kids heal, learn and grow.
Over the years, many things have changed, but our vision - to see every child thrive - has remained constant because of their leadership. We salute their loyal support, then, now, and always. Please prayerfully consider whether or not God is calling you to join us as we provide hope and a future for our most vulnerable youth.
Read: OUR UMW GOT THE POWER
Our rich, historical connection with the United Women in Faith tells the story of the hundreds of amazing women who have served alongside our staff and prayed for our kids since 1895.
In this photo, taken in the 1920's, the faithful United Women in Faith are delivering canned goods for our youth. We've heard stories from the adult children of United Women in Faith who remember their moms canning for their family then dividing the amount in half to make sure the kids at Cunningham had plenty to eat. That's generosity. And a wonderful example of the relationship we've shared with these women.
You see, in the 1940's, the United Women in Faith petitioned the federal government for a much needed building, but it was war time and everything was rationed. For them, it didn't matter. They knew the need and they were going to take care of the children at Cunningham. And they did!
Our past is full of groundbreakings and new construction! Cunningham built a much-needed school and gym with the Noel Education Center. We broke ground in August 2017 and our youth began using the new school in early 2019. The United Women in Faith contnue to work alongside us in order to give our students greater academic success by providing a learning environment that meets their behavioral and special education needs.
We have a deep appreciation for the prayers, love, and giving spirits of United Women in Faith. Although we no longer accept canned goods for our youth to eat, the women generously provide modern day gifts. We call them Hope Gifts and they come in the form of socks, underwear, body wash, deodorant, gift cards, and so much more. These women also work tirelessly on our behalf, volunteering at events, serving on our Boards and committees, making quilts for our kids and sharing our stories with friends and family.
On March 23, 2019, United Women in Faith (then United Methodist Women (UMW)) marked 150 years of women in mission with services to and advocacy for underserved women, children and youth. The United Women in Faith celebrated its strong foundation and prepare for the next 150 years so that their daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and sisters in Christ can continue their legacy of faith, hope and love in action. We celebrate all you have done and will continue to do through your faith, love, and action. May God bless you immensely!