The history of Lexington Interfaith Community Services (LICS) is a story of compassion for neighbors in crisis. The story began with the faith community seeking better ways to serve individuals and families faced with emergency needs for food, clothing and shelter. For more than thirty years, that story has expanded to include the larger community as local businesses, corporations, government, institutions and organizations have partnered in the mission of LICS.
In the late seventies, a group of ministers, lay people and community associations led by the Lexington Ministerial Association addressed the need for a coordinated effort to provide basic needs of families in crisis. In November 1978, LICS, was founded. A comprehensive service delivery, emergency services, was developed to provide food, clothing, referrals and limted financial assistance and counceling. The financial assistance provided for utilities, rent, prescriptions, auto fuel and lodging on an emergency basis.
During the first ten years, the creation of a thrift shop provided stability and a source of funding for services. A burnout closet was maintained in the thrift shop to provide linens, dishes, cooking utensils, etc. in response to the needs of families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by fire. In an ironic turn of events, the Thrift Shop was itself destroyed by fire in December 1988, the first major crisis for LICS.
Opportunity came out of the crisis. A member church arranged for space for the Thrift Shop and the Board planned to raise funds, procure property and construct a building. LICS involved the community in a capital campaign and a grass roots movement to support its mission was born. Since that time, the greater Lexington community has partnered in providing emergency services to neighbors in crisis.
LICS began with the thrift shop and service ministry opening at new facilities located at 210 North Church Street in November 1989. An increase in families being served called for additional space. Property at 227 North Lake Drive was acquired and rather than renovate the existing building, new facilities were constructed to house interview offices, reception area, food pantry, food storage and conference room. The new structure was occupied in December 1991.
A second major crisis occurred in August 1994 when a tornado damaged the Thrift Shop and destroyed the Service Ministry Building. Opportunity again came out of crisis and the community rallied to rebuild. A new Thrift Shop was built and the administration building was renovated.
LICS continued to mature as an organization. In 1995 the volunteer Board of Directors representing member churches, revised the constitution and by-laws and developed a strategic plan to move LICS forward. Segue with, in 2008 it did just that. LICS moved to its current location on Harmon Street in Lexington. Thanks to two generous Lexington businessmen, and countless others, LICS is housed in a beautiful new building and able to care for those in need with dignity and ease.
As LICS approaches the mid-point of the fourth decade of its history, the community it serves is rapidly changing. The greater Lexington community is one of the fastest growing communities in the state. LICS leadership is focused on responding to the increasingly diverse nature of the Lexington County Community. The LICS leadership, the LICS staff, and the LICS volunteers are committed to serving God by serving our neighbors.