PEORIA - The South Side Mission will be closing its doors to its children's daycare and pre-school program.
A slow economy is taking a toll on charitable organizations like the South Side Mission. Director Phil Newton said it's cutting its King's Kids program so the organization can work toward living within its means. He said, "Like everyone else, we have had to live below our means. We've had to make some tough choices as an organization and we've had to make some cuts as an organization."
Newton said 32 kids attend the program and it employs six teachers. He said it's something the mission can no longer afford to provide. "The usage of our program diminished and also the funding for it has diminished over time. So in order for us to use good stewardship for our donors, we had to make some very tough choices."
Parents and grandparents said they're struggling with the news. They say the South Side Mission has done wonderful work, and it will be hard to see it end.
One grandma spoke about the devastating news. "She prayed last night that she hopes God keeps King's Kids open and she could see her friends and her teachers. That's so important to little people. The program, they do wonderful things here with the children."
Mom Minnie Rios said, "It isn't easy to find a good school like this one here. This was a good school."
Newton said the decision is a done deal. He said the mission is working toward a better and stronger future through new financial endeavors. "In addition to making cuts on the expenses side, we've made expansions on the revenues side. We're going to add a fun run later on this year, we're going to add a real estate donation program and a number of other strategies in order to bump up our revenue so we can make it through this time."
The mission is working with other local daycares to help find a place for children and its staff members. The program is set to end in March.
If you want to help the South Side Mission you can donate online (www.southsidemission.org) in person at the location or via mail (1127 S. Laramie Street, Peoria, IL 61605).