The Jacksonville Regional Office of Catholic Charities is moving from the Providence Center at 134 East Church Street to the nearby Jessie Ball duPont Center on 40 E. Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville. Catholic Charities will continue providing services at their current location until they move to the nonprofit complex in October.
“The agency has been providing some services at the Jessie Ball duPont location for more than four years, and we found all available technology and other resources to be a great asset in providing our clients with comprehensive services. This move will allow all of our clients to benefit from the collaborative network of providers offered at the Jessie Ball duPont Center,” said Anita Hassell, CEO and diocesan director of Catholic Charities Bureau, Inc.
The relocation of Catholic Charities is part of a larger plan for the Providence Center, which currently houses the diocesan operations of Catholic Charities Bureau, Inc., Catholic Family Housing, which manages five low-income senior apartments, and the Multicultural Ministry. And the diocese has provided support in the way of in-kind rent to the St. Francis Soup Kitchen, an independent volunteer-operated ministry not directly associated with the diocese. This is a beautiful ministry that the diocese has been happy to support since 1986.
Bishop John J. Snyder had a vision of turning the vacant Immaculate Conception School building into an ecumenical social services facility. He wanted the building to be “a witness of the church’s commitment to the poor and disadvantaged” in Jacksonville. His vision became a reality, and the renovated building was blessed on Nov. 5, 1986.
The Jacksonville Downtown Development Authority presented a Certificate of Commendation to Bishop Snyder and the diocese for the “renovation and perceptive re-use of the former school.”
In the beginning, agencies such as Catholic Charities, Lutheran Family Services, the Crisis Center, Office of Aging Services, Senior Community Employment Services, Catholic Family Housing, Hispanic Affairs, the diocesan Ministry to Persons with Disabilities, and St. Anthony’s Bread Soup Kitchen and Clothes Closet (later named St. Francis Soup Kitchen) rented space at the Providence Center. But over the years, tenants either moved to new locations or they closed their operations leaving vacancies at the Providence Center.
“It is a wise business decision and good stewardship that we seek new options for the Providence Center,” said Deacon David Williams, chancellor for the diocese. “It is a large building that is expensive to maintain and operate. This move provides the diocese with an opportunity to re-envision a new future for this valuable building and property,” he said.
Catholic Charities has already moved their food pantry to the former Child Development Center located on the grounds of St. Pius V Catholic School, in Durkeeville of North Jacksonville, to meet the needs of their clients.
The remaining diocesan offices and St. Francis Soup Kitchen will move at the end of the year.
As for the future of the Providence Center, the diocese is exploring options for the building. We are looking forward to continuing to address the evolving needs of the community and working together with other organizations.