Felician Center is approaching its 30th anniversary while completing a year-long project to reverence and renew human dignity.
Since its dedication on August 11, 1992, Felician Center has served residents of Williamsburg County, SC who struggle to meet basic needs. Last year, Felician Center was awarded a $50,000 Sacred Heart Charitable Fund grant from the Sisters of St. Francis, Denver, Colorado to support works of peace and justice, education, and earth care for the good of the community. While the sisters already provide many critical resources including a food pantry and health care services, they decided to use this grant for something to promote the dignity of their neighbors.
The sisters created the Felician Center Neighborhood Forum, a project to improve the self-image and standard of living for community members, enhance the neighborhood’s appearance, and support local businesses by using them for materials and labor needed to accomplish the work.
To ensure that community members had an active role in making decisions, Felician Center held quarterly meetings and formed neighborhood committees to address various components of the project. At each meeting, community members received needed items — buckets, work gloves, trash bags, rakes — so they could clean around their homes and those of elderly neighbors.
Improvements included repairing unsafe exterior steps, railings, and handicap ramps; installing new exterior front doors and providing weather stripping kits; distribution of fire extinguishers and smoke detectors; trimming overgrown trees and shrubs; and beautifying the neighborhood with new plants and flowers.
The visible progress of the project resulted in even more support and success. Community leaders and businesses donated an additional $50,000 to the project, and local governments and volunteers pitched in their time and talents painting houses and removing debris. Other families in the neighborhood that did not participate in the project were inspired by what they witnessed and began improving their own properties.
“I could barely walk on my porch, and I appreciate having it fixed,” one resident said. “This project was God sent; you have been a blessing to me to improve my home.”
As the close of three full decades nears, the sisters of Felician Center continue to find new ways to serve the community of Kingstree, SC with respect and compassion by making homes safer, and enabling residents to take pride in their neighborhood.