For a new beginning...

Our mission is to offer a residential program at no cost to women in crisis who desire to arise to their created purpose…but we cannot do it without you! Spend a few minutes browsing our site to learn more about us, our upcoming events, and how you can partner with us as we share in the burdens faced by many women in our communities!

Get Involved

Women in crisis situations sometimes have few supportive relationships or resources to assist them. Therefore, a major focus of the Merci’s Refuge program is to help women identify and mobilize the supports they already have and build new supportive relationships in the community. Here’s a few ways you can get involved.

Overnight Volunteers

Don't worry, you can sleep on this job.  Merci's Refuge is staffed by volunteers in the evenings and overnight.  Volunteers arrive by 6:30pm (or earlier for dinner) and spend time getting to know residents through casual conversation, playing games, watching t.v. or movies, making food, or other planned activities. Volunteers also provide accountability to residents for following house rules, including being in the rooms by 10:30pm.  Volunteers secure the building before retiring to their private room for the evening.  In case of emergencies, volunteers are on-site to assist residents, contact paid staff, or call 911.

Daytime Volunteers

We desire for each resident to have a mentor during and after their time at Merci's Refuge.  Residents spend an average of one hour each week with their assigned mentor over a meal, an activity, or working on their internship goals.  We also need volunteers to help with various projects such as foodbank pickup, various administrative and organizational tasks, property maintenance, social media marketing, fundraising and event planning, and much more.  Many hands make light work!  For more information about volunteer please call 217-378-4045 or complete our online volunteer application here.

Safe Families

Women who already have children and are unable to arrange for their care with family or friends have the option of partnering with Safe Families, a program sponsored by Illini Christian Ministries which partners families in crisis situations with families who are able and willing to care for their children as short-term guardians.  Safe Families staff support the mother, her children and the Safe Family, and facilitate regular visitation and case management.  Visit for more information.

Merci Churches

Churches that have developed strategic partnerships with Merci's Refuge to serve women in crisis. Some examples include giving monthly, mobilizing volunteers to help lead weekly worship services or bible studies at Merci's Refuge, making various groups and activities in your church available to our residents, or partnering with us to create internship experiences for residents.  The possibilities are nearly endless.  For more information about church partnerships contact Greta Henry at or 217-378-4045.

Merci Business Sponsors

Businesses are key financial partners that help Merci's Refuge be available to residents at no cost to them throughout their stay.  Business sponsors receive a plaque, window decal and/or a digital logo from Merci's Refuge to publicly thank them for "Supporting Women in Our Community".  Businesses can also partner with Merci's Refuge to provide internship opportunities for residence or other career related coaching (resume building, interview experience, etc).  Business also make a difference by donating or discounting resources, services, time, or gifts-in-kind to encourage and support the women in our program on their path to restoration.  For more information about business partnerships contact Terri Lipscomb at or 217-493-3300.