This is the O'Reilly Center for Hope, a community hub with about 20 partner agencies that offer services related to affordable housing, financial stability, and the overall well-being of the community. (Photo: Community Partnership of the Ozarks)

Prior to the pandemic, Community Partnership of the Ozarks would organize and host the annual Hope Connection event, a one-day event in November.

The event would be held at the Expo Center and often draw more than 600 people who were either homeless, unstably housed or at imminent risk of becoming unsheltered. They could get a variety of medical and social services. They could get haircuts, glasses, groceries — you name it.

But like many events and services, COVID-19 caused the Hope Connection to be canceled in recent years. 

To continue making these much-needed services even more easily accessible to the clients they serve, CPO in partnership with MSU Care began hosting monthly Day of Hope events.

The Day of Hope events are from 9 a.m.-noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except December) at the O’Reilly Center for Hope, 1518 E. Dale St. 

O’Reilly Center for Hope. (Source: Google Maps)

Emily Fessler is the Continuum of Care Coordinator at the O’Reilly Center for Hope. 

“The thing about the Hope Connection is that it was a fantastic event. It was huge. It was massive. It had a great turnout,” Fessler said. “But the reality is these folks need these types of services all the time and not just once a year. 

“We would hate for someone to be needing glasses, for example, and they are like, ‘Well, shoot. You missed the Hope Connection. Wait till next November,’” she continued. 

Emily Fessler is the Continuum of Care Coordinator. (Photo: O’Reilly Center for Hope)

Like the Hope Connection events in the past, the Day of Hope events are free for clients normally served by One Door, this community’s point of entry for services for those who are unsheltered, unstably housed or at imminent risk of becoming unsheltered. 

Each month, the Day of Hope events will focus on a different topic, like vision or children.

But a core group of medical providers, including MSU Care Clinic, retired nurse Elisa Coonrod, representatives from the Department of Social Services and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, will be at every Day of Hope to provide free services and connect folks with providers. 

The first Day of Hope event was in February and focused on nutrition and diabetes education.

Here is the schedule for 2023:

March 22 — Audiology

April 26 — Vision (appointments required)

May 24 — ID and birth certificate assistance

June 28 — Self-care (haircuts, showers, first-aid)

July 26 — Pet care (tentative)

Aug. 23 — Families and kids

Sept. 27 — Audiology (tentative)

Oct. 25 — Vision (appointments required)

Nov. 22 — Food and housing resources (tentative)

All events are 9 a.m. to noon and take place in the Burris Training Room on the first floor of the O’Reilly Center for Hope.

Other than the vision clinics, these are all “walk-ins accepted” events and no appointment is necessary. (To schedule an appointment for an eye exam for the April 26 event, click here.)

About the O’Reilly Center for Hope

The O’Reilly Center for Hope serves as a one-stop-shop for those in poverty, homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless, struggling with mental health issues or even people who need to take a shower, do laundry or borrow a drill from the tool lending library.

Multiple agencies are housed at the center including: Burrell Behavioral Health, One Door, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Springfield Community Land Trust, OACAC, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, Family Support Division, the Springfield Police Department, Isabel’s House, WIC, MSU Care — to name a few.

The center opened in 2020 and is housed in the former Pepperdine school building, a 105-year-old building in northeast Springfield. 

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers housing, homelessness, domestic violence and early childhood, among other public affairs issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald