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 sendings o 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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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!
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 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.
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!
April 23, 2019 - The Blessing Bus made its rounds in downtown St. Louis with MAD's new President Jerry, 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 fromOsborne 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!
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!
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.
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!
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!