Building on our legacy of caring, the Center for Family Services exists to assist, support, and strengthen individuals and families throughout our communities.
One hundred and fifty-three years ago, in 1863, a group of Meadville women joined together to help local families experiencing financial crises. The “men folk” were away fighting the Civil War and their families were left without a wage earner. The soldiers’ pay that was to be sent home, arrived sporadically and infrequently. Additionally, widows and orphans were also left without resources. The women gathered food and clothing for the families, distributing them to those in need. Besides seeing to the needs of the soldiers’ families they also held blanket drives, collected bandages and food stores and sent them to the war front. Thus the Home Relief Society was born.
Today the name is different, but the mission remains the same. We are still aiding families experiencing a crisis. The Center for Family Services continues to fulfill our community’s legacy by providing food and clothing. As our name has changed, the variety of services the agency provides has evolved. Over the years, members of our community have seen and responded to the changing times and needs of our Crawford County families. Today those services include: counseling for homeowners, classes for parents, and other services that meet the basic needs of families.
We celebrate the vision of that original group of women and those who have followed in their footsteps. Most of all, we celebrate the Crawford County community, with our deep rooted sense of giving. Here’s to the next 150 years of helping families in need, together.
The Center for Family Services, Inc. is a direct descendant of an organization founded by a group of women in 1863 to aid families of Civil War soldiers. It was called the Home Relief Society and aided the families of soldiers whose pay was overdue.
Men were admitted to membership and the work was continued among the poor in Meadville.
Ms. Sara Logan became interested in the inadequacy of the clothing of the children playing in the street and through her efforts and contributions from concerned citizens, a house was rented on Walnut St. where the needy could go and receive aid. Wood was donated and men with families could go and chop a cord of wood for their own use. Clothing and food were also distributed.
Membership included representatives from every church and benevolent society in Meadville. In order to better express structure and purpose of the body, the name was changed to Associated Charities. A.M. Fuller (pictured) was elected president, a post he held until 1911. Mrs. Alvira McCoy was Executive Secretary until her death in 1912. Her position as director was succeeded by Mary Leberman, Edna Stafford, Florence Jackson, Shirley Park, Phyllis Feil, Linda Bennett and Pamela Leap Jarrell. There have been only 8 executive directors in 153 years.
With the help of City Council, Associated Charities moved to rooms on the second floor of the Market House, rent free.
The Association joined the Community Chest through the support of local churches and individuals such as Elizabeth Huidekoper and Mrs. Henry Kidder.
Incorporated as Associated Family Services, Inc.
Associated Family Services, Inc. purchased our current location at 213 W. Center Street through the efforts of Jo Thomas, a government grant through Senator Robbins, and the donations from the community.
Associated Family Services, Inc. merges with Center for Families in Change to form Center for Family Services, Inc.