July 11, 2019 - After receiving multiple reviews, Making A Difference was one of the first winners of a 2019 Top Rated Award from Great Nonprofits! We received a badge for our website and small certificate to print out for our records. We're blessed to have received the award and the reviews, which you can check out here!
July 6, 2019 - We were invited to the Saint Jacob Military Appreciation Day & 5k on July 6th, 2019! There was live music, food, drinks and activities for kids & adults. Many vendors, crafters & non-profits, including us, had booths and there were games to play, give-aways & prizes raffled off and the Traveling Wall of Fallen Hero’s was on display. We were so blessed to have awesome prizes to raffle and received donations of food, including Girl Scout Cookies! Suzzii Bushur, the wonderful lady who planned & coordinated this special event, invited us & found us some amazing prizes, won a one night stay and 2 rounds of golf with a cart at Oak Terrace Resort and Spa at their beautiful golf course & country club in Pana, Il; and Gateway Grizzlies tickets. Bruce Frank won the party pack for two to a home game of the St. Louis Cardinals and Heather Monahan won tickets for Family Night at Edison's Entertainment Complex. Rachel Crow won the 23lb ham from D&M Farms and we had Disney tickets raffled off that will be drawn later!
January 17, 2019 - The new year did not start off very well for our friends at the homeless camps in East St. Louis. They were hit hard with some bad news that we'd heard rumors about but hoped wouldn't come true. They were given a 30-day eviction notice to vacate the camp and surrounding land. We will be doing everything possible in our powers to find them homes and shelter.
January 22 , 2019 - We were in contact with the property owner and found out the lot was sold to a developer. They weren't being evicted because they were homeless or camping there, the new owner wants the property cleared to make room for future developments. We're reaching out to local groups & organizations to find the camp residents a place to stay and praying hard.
February 11, 2019 - Due to all of the actions of another homeless advocate who did not have the correct information, our friends at the camp wasted half of their 30 days because they were told the eviction was illegal and/or fake. Now, they are scrambling to find a quick solution. Thankfully, 3 of them decided to take us seriously and have left the camp already. This has been frustrating because we want the best for them and the other advocate was just wanting publicity. Now, we're in a mad dash to find them housing in 2 weeks and that advocate is nowhere to be found.
Elliott Davis, an Investigative Reporter at Fox2 Now, has been a voice for the homeless and goes out live and talks to the homeless, sharing their stories and trying to bring awareness to the homeless situation in our area while also trying to make our local cities & counties create some changes to help our less fortunate residents. He is the only reporter in our area to show the truth about the homeless situation and works hard as a homeless advocate, which we appreciate. Watch his video Homeless Being Evicted From Homeless Camps.
February 13, 2019 - The last week of their eviction has been hard. We first visited the camps in early 2015 with our friends from Missing & Homeless and have visited there weekly, sometimes multiple times weekly, ever since, along with many other churches & local organizations. We have to thank God for sending so many of His people with the biggest hearts to help over the years. They've made a huge difference! We're all working hard to keep couples together, a few have vouchers for rent but not together, which is another tragedy to all of this. Two of our regulars are having a hard time finding a place. Read more about their plight in As East St. Louis Evicts Homeless Camp, Residents Face Bleak Future.
February 22, 2019 - Not only were we trying to find homes for the camp residents but we were trying to find rescue for their pets! We'd gotten to know the dogs & cats over time and cared about them, too. Thankfully, St. Clair TNR & Rescue dba Maggie's Mutt Mission stepped in and took Baby, one of the three homeless cats at the camp. She will be safe at their rescue in a foster home and will find a forever home soon. We're hoping to get the other two soon. Most of the residents who owned pets wanted to take their pets with them. This has been such a heartbreaking situation.
February 27, 2019 - Everybody is gone from the East St. Louis homeless camps now and this is what remains before cleanup. We've been going there for years now, it's become a part of our lives and this has affected us deeply. We have to thank the property owner Elaine, whose niece sits on our Board, for being very kind & giving our un-housed friends an extension so we could find housing or shelter for them. Most of them have been able to find a home and reclaim their lives while a few have went on to other homeless camps in Missouri and the Metro East. They'll still have us in their lives and we'll always be there for them.
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September 7, 2019 - We were honored to be invited to the 10th Annual Bradley R. Smith Memorial 5k in Troy! MAD owner Jerry, Director Michelle and Volunteer Colette S were there running our booth & selling raffle tickets, and also took in donations of potted meat for our homeless friends plus 7 cases of water that were donated from the event! We had some great raffle prizes and we thank everyone very much for donating them! The winners of the raffle prizes are: Bob S won the VIP 6 month membership that includes classes to Alphas Gym in Highland, Sharon C won two $25 gift cards to Bonefish Grill from an Anonymous donor, and Kathy B won the Disneyland tickets from our last raffle in June at the St. Jacob Military Appreciation Day and 5k. Patty D won a $10 gift card to Wingstop from one of their Managers, a basket of ale and popcorn from Becky Burkard, and a $10 gift card to The Corner Chill and Grill LLC! Riley H won a bunch of goodies like a dental basket with a Sonic Toothbrush, dental strips and more from Amy Krusz (To get the Sonic Toothbrush at a discount of $39.99 plus $6 brush heads, visit www.burstoralcare.com and enter the discount code N3TQZV); she won the St. Louis Cardinals throw & 2 pillowcase made by Sharon Crone; a Paparazzi Jewelry basket by Paparazzi with Kayla 101 and a basket of wax melts & other good-smelling items from our Director Michelle! It was a beautiful day and we were all there to honor the memory of Bradley R. Smith.
September 15, 2019 - Today was our first time providing the main meal at Ever & Anon Park in Belleville! Miss Amy hasn't had a Sunday off in 9 years so we filled in for her. Volunteers Colette S & her husband Bob, who's an Army Vet, and Tait & her husband Randy J, who's also an Army Vet, met Jerry & Michelle at the park. Miss Amy showed up but enjoyed her day off & relaxed. Terry, an independent volunteer who's not with a group, made mac & cheese with hamburger & sausage, and Colette made her special homemade brownies and provided all of the ingredients for the walking tacos that she & Michelle made. Walking tacos are bags of Doritos with all of the ingredients for tacos placed inside them like meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream & taco sauce, and they were a hit! Today was Jamie's birthday, she's homeless & a regular at Sunday Serving, and everybody sang Happy Birthday to her. All of those who stopped by left with food in their stomachs, clothes, hygiene items, a few new friends and a smile on their faces.
That same day, MAD's founder, Tony Hilker, was touched when he learned he was one of 77 volunteers nominated in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch/STLTODAY.COM's "Thanks for giving, St. Louis" segment. Click on the link to read the submission written by one of our supporters.
August 17, 2019 - We had our first Serving Saturday at Loretta Hall Park in St. Louis, MO. Our Blessing Bus was full of donations from our donors plus we had donations from Maryville Outreach Center & our Anonymous Donor including Little Caesar's pizza, bread & bagels, pastries, fresh produce & other foods. Volunteer Julia T & her husband Jason made the meal which consisted of smoked & pulled BBQ pork, potato salad, cole claw, pork & beans, chips and cookies & brownies and 4 cases of water with flavor packets. We passed out clothes & shoes, food & water, hygiene blessing bags and let everyone know our new schedule. New Volunteers Debby Y & her daughter, and Emily D showed up plus it was Julia T's first time serving, too! Thank you all for making sure that day was special for those we served! We're so glad you're a part of our little team!
This page holds some of our most memorable moments that made a difference for us since we opened in December 2016.
May 21, 2019 - We were reading the letters to the editor section of our local paper and was surprised to find a letter written about Miss Amy! She is the sweetest soul and makes delicious meals, all made with love, on Sundays for the homeless and in need at Ever & Anon Park in Belleville. Even though Amy isn't a volunteer for Making A Difference, she works with us and makes serving Sundays much more special for our homeless friends, and us. Thank you for being there for those in need, Amy! You make a huge difference and we look forward to serving with you!
August 22, 2019 - We were accepted into the Fresh Thyme Giving Tag Program! Just purchase a $2.99 reusable Giving Bag at any Fresh Thyme store and use the attached Giving Tag to direct a $1 donation to Making A Difference! It's an easy way to go green, it helps reduce paper & plastic bag use and and you can use the attached Giving Tag to direct a $1 donation to MAD!
June 15, 2019 - One of our goals under the new ownership was adding more Blessing Boxes in the community, which has proven to be more difficult than we anticipated. Thanks to the Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Collinsville, a Blessing Box was donated to Remedy Church in Collinsville. This area really needed one, and it's where we're based out of, so we were thrilled! We helped keep it filled and it was emptied daily. We were thankful it was helping many in the area but noticed bulk items were being taken instead of just as needed and we were disappointed when we realized people were taking the items for the wrong reasons and those in need weren't getting any of it. After a month of sitting outside the church, the Blessing Box was moved inside Remedy Church, for their congregation and the community to access during their Sharing House Ministry on Saturdays. It's still blessing those it was meant for, we're keeping it filled and we're hoping to place more throughout the area.
October 13, 2018 - Making A Difference learned about Blessing Boxes, which are tall storage bins placed at local fire or police departments, businesses or churches for people to place non-perishable food, toiletries, water & basic necessities in for the needy & homeless to take when needed. The idea is take when you need and give when you can, which we love! We got on Facebook, asked for donations and helped fill the Blessing Box at Caseyville Police Dept. Two days later, a Blessing Box was donated to us by Ricky Lee, Tony's brother-in-law. Ricky Lee's sister, Karol Kay, had passed away from cancer and he & his wife adopted her 2 kids, raising them as their own. The box was named Karol Kay's Blessing Box in honor of her and we placed it at the State Park Place Volunteer Fire Dept. Check out our Blessing Boxes page in our Resources section. If you know of any in the Metro East, want to donate one or help fill them, please contact us.
August 18, 2018 - We'd been wanting to set up haircuts for the residents at the homeless camp and were looking for stylists who'd like to donate their time & services. Jessica, a stylist friend of Tony's, came out to the camp with her 3 kids and donated haircuts for all of the camp's residents! Afterwards, she & her kids prepared dinner then served it to them. It was a great day and made our friends feel so much better. Something so little to us is big for the homeless, and they loved it! Thank you, Jessica!
May 3, 2017 - Seeger Toyota held an online contest for non-profits called "You Choose, We Donate." There were 50 other non-profits nominated and MAD won! Big thanks to all of our supporters and everyone who voted!
December 26th, 2018 - It was a very sad day that brought death to another one of our homeless friends. Denise was well-known and liked by everyone she met, whether it was volunteers, Pastors or other homeless people. She always had a smile on her face even as she battled addiction. Denise was found in an old school building by a homeless advocate, right by where we'd served earlier that night. She had been behind us the entire time and we didn't know, which breaks our hearts. We get comfort knowing Denise knew God and Jesus Christ and is no longer in pain and has her home in Heaven. She'll always be one of our MAD angels.
March 23, 2019 - We were very excited to announce our Blessing Bus will start serving Belleville again, every Sunday at Ever & Anon Park! Also at the park are Angels of Saint Clair County, Redeemers House of Worship and other churches & helping individuals who want to help. Miss Amy, who loves cooking for our homeless & needy friends, is also there every week serving homemade food made with love!
September 24, 2018 - Heaven gained another MAD angel when one of our biggest fears for our homeless friends came true. Midnight became a victim of the streets and was shot & killed, just a few months after his own son was shot & killed. An extremely gentle soul, he was one of our Wednesday night regulars in St. Louis. For the last ten years, Midnight lived in an abandoned building, keeping it clean and free of debris, trash & vandalism, and was a good man. The last time we saw him was on September 12th, and he was in his usual good spirits. We're extremely sad that we will no longer see his huge smile but we do find comfort knowing he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart and now resides in Heaven. Rest in Peace, Midnight.
August 19, 2019 - We were nominated for the Papa John's Papa Cares Campaign and made it to the final four again! MAD was up against some tough competition and some of our favorite non-profits - Moms on a Mission, Needy Paws Rescue and Sweet Celebrations. Our followers voted for two weeks and big congratulations were sent to Needy Paws Rescue for winning again! MAD still had a discounted code where our fans ordered from Papa John's during the month of September, received a 20% discount and at the end of the month, 20% of those discounted purchase prices were donated back to us! Big thanks to Papa John's and everyone who nominated us, voted for us & shared the posts!
March 20, 2019 - Making A Difference Founder Tony Hilker handed the ownership of MAD over to Jerry Price & Michelle Dodson after deciding to move to California to make a difference there. Volunteers since December 2017, the two Board of Director members & volunteers who had picked up, gathered & sorted donations, drove the Blessing Bus, served, helped the residents in the homeless camp and helped Tony run the group, took over operations. Honored he gave it to them, they will continue serving & making a difference in the Metro East! Tony stayed around, saying goodbye to everyone he'd worked with & helped through MAD until March 30th but was no longer running the non-profit or involved with it.
June 27, 2018 - MAD was invited to the very first Fun-D raiser by our friends at The Thread STL. Tim Ezell & Virginia Kerr created the first non-profit tv show in our area, which focused on good things happening in our community, and it was a hit! Making A Difference not only showed up at the event as an organization who supports The Thread STL but Tony was one of the five Chefs filling everyone's stomachs with food! We love The Thread STL and you will, too!
March 23, 2017 - As racing fans, we were thrilled when sponsor Tettaton Heating & Cooling of Collinsville featured MAD's logo on their local Tettaton Racing car! Now we didn't need an excuse to go to the races. What an honor! Go #31!
March 30, 2018 - Our dear friend and fellow servant of God, Ginger Mordis Mooney, became our first MAD Angel when she went to Heaven. She spent her lifetime taking care of her family, which consisted of her husband Anthony, her 6 children & 23 grandchildren plus she was a beloved daughter, sister, sister-in-law, niece, aunt & cousin. A sweet lady with a big smile, Ginger was one of the kindest women we've ever met, and was very involved with helping the homeless, doing street outreach and volunteering with MAD, Feed My Peeps, Moms On A Mission, and 618 Missing and Homeless for years. She was a blessing to many and made a huge impact on volunteers, those she served, and everyone she met. A few months later, on June 6th, Ginger sent a sign she's still serving from Heaven. Her husband stopped by with the last truck full of donations that she had collected. Ginger fits our favorite Eskimo proverb perfectly: "Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
On June 20th, homelesss advocate Wendell Phillips 'Phil' Berwick came by & blessed our #ServingShuttle with a tribute of Ginger. Phil creates artwork known as Merfords, and this tribute was perfect for our shuttle that serves the very people Ginger cared for & loved. MAD's founder, Tony, drove this shuttle and he loved seeing this every day, knowing she was with him & watching over him as he was out serving, picking up donations and making a difference. Many thanks for such an awesome blessing! When Tony left MAD in May 2019, he donated the #ServingShuttle to Alpha & Omega Christian Fellowship Church, a church & food pantry that specializes in helping teens, and Ginger's watching over them now, too!
May 24, 2017 - Papa John's St. Louis Charities holds a Papa Cares Campaign a few times a year and we were surprised to find out not only was Making A Difference nominated but we made it to the final four out of 1,200 nominations! We didn't win but our friends at Needy Paws Rescue did.
April 23, 2019 - The Blessing Bus made its rounds in downtown St. Louis with MAD's new owners, Co-Director Jerry, Co-Director Michelle & Volunteer Jose serving the homeless an after Easter dinner outside the Biddle House, Red Door Church, St. Patrick's & Soulard. Loaded up with 140 homemade sandwiches made with 23lbs of ham, 15lbs of turkey & 3lbs of Dutch Loaf, everyone received 2 sandwiches and loved them! 80 snack bags were passed out full of chips, fig bars, honey buns, trail mix, cheese & crackers, peanut butter & crackers, fruit gusher snacks, cookies, Skittles & Starbursts, all from Osborne Chiropractic (who went to the store and loaded up their vehicle for these snack bags!), Maryville Outreach Center & Benny's Bed & Biscuits. Bellies were full, and hopefully hearts were, too! Ours were, as it was our first Easter since taking over and it was very successful! We can't thank everyone enough who donated for this special meal. You made a huge difference!