Built in the 1900s, the entire South Bend block of 500 Western Avenue was at one time the hub of business, social and spiritual activity. Recently renovated and historically restored, Monroe Circle Community Center (MC3) has quickly become the cornerstone for renewal in this neighborhood.
Our goal? That everyone living in the Monroe Circle community will know their value and take steps toward a full and meaningful life. We seek community transformation through strong family units, decreased crime rates and decreased high school drop-out rates. As a whole, our vision is that Monroe Circle be transformed into a vibrant community that cares for, dignifies, equips and guides each other. We want to empower the community so that it is self-initiating, taking ownership and leadership of its continued transformation.
The journey to MC3 started in 2001 when two volunteers from Granger Community Church (GCC) were given permission to mentor children living in the Monroe Circle public housing complex. That program was known as Son City Kids. In 2004, the director of the Ko-Op 65 food pantry asked GCC to help provide food for their pantry next door. Volunteers began helping with providing food and other small rehab jobs that the building desperately needed. In December of that year, Ko-Op 65 offered to sell the pantry to GCC for one dollar. In January 2005, GCC took over the pantry and began the effort to acquire all three adjoining buildings. Through donated funds, labor, gifts “in kind,” and other community and business partnerships, MC3 was renovated and historically restored in 2007.
Each morning (Tuesdays & Thursdays) guests are invited to stop by the Open Café between 9 a.m.-12 p.m. While there, guests enjoy free coffee, Internet access and television or music playing in the background. This is a great time to gather as a community, catch up with old friends, meet new ones and learn about MC3’s programs.
We have two pantries available each month. The Food Pantry is open:
The 2nd Saturday of the month from 9-11 a.m.
The 4th Tuesday of the month from 9-11 a.m.
At the Food Pantry, neighbors can select their own items and receive fresh and frozen foods to help offset potential financial challenges each month. Neighbors are encouraged to enjoy the café atmosphere where they can connect with friends, pray with people who care, be served by pleasant volunteers and receive food. Volunteers are encouraged to take part in this highly-relational ministry.
Want to know how to manage your money so that your money will last? MC3 offers Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to help participants learn how to better manage their finances. In partnership with First Federal Savings Bank, volunteers lead participants through the material. There are class opportunities for adults and children (ages 3-12). Classes are held in the fall.
After-school opportunities for kids in 2nd-5th grades are designed to help expand children’s academic, creative and social learning experiences in a meaningful, safe, structured and loving environment that simultaneously encourages the growth of good and appropriate social and character traits. This program is facilitated by Son City Kids and is designed to help kids excel in education. Tutors and mentors are available Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m.