God has given us a wonderful dream, a vision. We envision a strong corps of volunteers, from Churches all over the Peoria-area, partnering in a door-to-door, street-by-street, block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood effort to bring relief, hope, and, most importantly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Peoria’s most destitute Zip Code – 61605.

The plan is simple. And proven. It means adopting whole city blocks at a time and focusing energies for the long term. It means establishing real, tangible relationships with the poor – sowing seeds, nurturing tender shoots, and yielding an abundant harvest when the time comes.

The following video was created by one of the Adopt-A-Block sponsors, Grace Presbyterian Church.

The Adopt-A-Block concept works as follows:
  • Volunteers convene at South Side Mission each Saturday morning and from there disperse and canvass specific blocks in the 61605 Zip Code going door-to-door.
  • Volunteers will introduce themselves as part of the Adopt-A-Block program and let residents know that the volunteer will be coming back regularly to do community service in the neighborhood. In the process, volunteers will be picking up trash, distributing baked goods, asking for prayer requests, inquiring of needs (furniture, appliances, etc), and passing out community resource guidebooks. If an opportunity presents itself, volunteers are asked to share the Gospel with residents.
  • This is a Body of Christ effort, not specifically-tied to any church or South Side Mission. The goal is to win 61605 for Christ. It’s OK to invite residents to church, also, but that goal is secondary to residents accepting Christ as Savior.
  • Because relationship-building is a primary goal of the program, Adopt-A-Block volunteers are expected to commit for at least a four-month time period. Volunteers may partner to find “subs” if and when they need a break.
What kind of progress has been made so far?
  • Staff of South Side Mission is meeting with Bible-believing, evangelical churches in the 61605 zip code and the surrounding areas to gather volunteer, prayer, and financial support for the Adopt-A-Block program.
  • We have specially-commissioned a map of 61605 detailing the Zip Code house-by-house. The map is already being etched with little red crosses as decisions for Christ are made by residents of the 61605 zip code. The map has been anointed with oil and prayed over.
  • We have prayer-drove the perimeter of 61605, praying scripture and warfare prayers.
  • We meet regularly with principals in the other Adopt-A-Block program going on in Peoria – Dream Center Peoria’s multi-block effort on the Near North Side.

Now We Need YOUR Help!

Would YOU like to help with the Adopt-A-Block program? Interested?  E-mail us.

Partnerships are crucial to our ministries. We were thrilled to help 1st Christian Church in Decatur set up their Adopt-A-Block program. Below is an introductory summary of what they are doing.

Adopt A Block 2013 from First Christian Church on Vimeo.


Bessie Rush – Pastor Bessie Rush and her late husband (Rev. Tonny)  celebrated 43 years of marriage. They have 3 three children and 7 seven  grandchildren and two great- grandchildren. Bessie worked for Counseling & Family Services (now known as Family Core)for over ten  years. Bessie has worked with struggling families in many different capacities throughout her years in Peoria.

In 2005 she received the Governor’s Award for the Casey Foundation’s  Family To Family Initiative in collaborating with the community to reduce the numbers of children going into foster care in  Peoria County. As a Community Liaison for the Family –To- Family, she has worked with families in crisis involved with the child welfare system. Bessie also served as the Site Coordinator for one of the United States Justice Department’s National Weed & Seed program in Peoria, which was also nominated for a national award.  She was also was an  Christian air radio personality for eleven (11) years called “Ebony Gospel.” Bessie is a much sought after motivational speaker in the Christian community.