large white sign for Owensboro Help Office with red bow

The Help Office of Owensboro, 1316 W. Fourth St., marked a half century of helping people in need last month.
Now, the agency itself is in need of some help. Mike Baker, chairman of the board, said the agency is trying to raise $50,000 for the first phase of upgrades to the 7,292-square-foot building, which he believes is 85 years old. Independence Bank has paid for a new sign in front of the building — the first time the agency has had one to help people find it.

It will be dedicated on May 19 with city, county and bank officials in attendance. Nick Oller, the bank’s Daviess County market president, “was the first to step up and help us,” Baker said. He said other needs include replacing the water heater, installing new plumbing, painting the building inside and out and putting in new floors. The front door is solid metal — from the building’s days as the first home of OASIS, a domestic violence shelter, in the 1980s. It’s being replaced with a door that has a window and a camera so workers can see who’s outside. “Our website needs help,” Baker said. “Red Pixel is helping with that.” Baker said he’s been on the board of Girls Inc. for 27 years and is a past president of that organization. “I’m still on the board,” he said. “But I see a need to be with the Help Office, too.” The organization was founded in April 1972 in the annex of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 420 St. Ann St., by nine local churches.

It moved around town for several years before moving into the current location in 1998. “We’re trying to increase awareness,” Baker said. “We hope to get more funding to serve more people.” Last year, he said, the agency helped 2,700 households with 6,000 people with food and financial assistance. The 1316 W. Fourth St. address first appears in Messenger-Inquirer files as “the new health center” in February 1953. The Owensboro-Daviess County Health Department moved out in 1982. And OASIS moved in until 1996, when it opened a new $2.2 million, 16,000-square-foot building in eastern Owensboro. The building sat empty for a couple of years until the Help Office moved in.
Baker said, “We have an ongoing need for operating funds to continue serving.” He said people can help by sending checks to Help Office, 1316 W. Fourth St., Owensboro, KY 42301. Baker said donations of clothing, peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna, soup, canned fruit, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and razors are always needed.

Visit their website to learn how you can help.

Hours are 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Article published in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer on May 15th, 2022 by Keith Lawrence