Jeremiah's Letter, Inc. was founded in 1978 by a group of churches in Dayton's urban center as a community outreach ministry to support people living in poverty. It's mission was inspired by Jeremiah 29:7, "Seek ye the well-being of your city, for its welfare will determine your welfare." The idea is simple: a rising tide lifts all boats. Helping those in unfortunate circumstances who struggle will enhance the livelihood of the entire community.
St. Paul Lutheran Church was chosen to house this organization, due to its accessibility to Dayton residents at its location on Wayne Ave. by the Oregon District. Their large fellowship hall and industrial sized kitchen was the new site in 1978 for Project Blessing. A ministry of St. Paul, it served a hot meal to over 150 people in need two days each week. Having both ministries at one site became an outreach that complimented one another. It became well-known among the impoverished community, labeled as the "Blue Door Church" because of its large blue doors facing Wayne Ave. Those who chose to enter always felt welcome in the friendly atmosphere created by a host of volunteers and workers.
During its earlier years, Jeremiah's Letter hosted after school programs for local children in area churches with neighborhoods and through St. Paul a youth ministry. A complete emergency food pantry was available and run by volunteers as well as an annual fish fry fund raiser that was attended by clients as well as donors.
In 1997, Jeremiah's Letter became a formal non-profit 501 (c) 3 independent corporation and no longer a branch of St. Paul's non-profit status. The recognition gained as a validated charitable organization enhanced the image of Jeremiah's Letter to the surrounding community over time.
In 2011, by recognizing the changing needs in the community, a new program was formed called Passages. Jeremiah's Letter discovered that many homeless or impoverished people needed the documentation to reach the next step to improving their lives. In this day and age, you can barely do anything without proving who you are. Children need birth certificates to get into schools. Adults need state ID's to acquire jobs and cash their checks. Without the sources of income to afford these items, which are more easily lost or damaged while living on the streets, people go without these documents and struggle as a result. Considering this need, the Passages Program became dedicated to helping people obtain free local or out-of-state birth certificates as well as State of Ohio ID's through the gifting of vouchers with the presence of a recognized case worker in the social service system.
Due to the closing of St. Paul at the end of 2017, Jeremiah's Letter decided to move into its own free standing facility located on Xenia Ave. and become closer to the foot print of inner-city poverty which had moved eastward in recent years. This new location could no longer provide the meal services of St. Paul, but instead adjusted existing programs to fit the new space. But new programs are also in development such as yoking with St. Paul United Methodist Church in the Huffman Neighborhood to provide an occasional monthly meal to help enhance its presence in the Huffman District.
Today we continue to provide direct service and outreach to men, women and children without means in the greater Dayton area.