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Franklin County children shelter re-opening with new mission

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Night's Shield

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (WSIL) -- The Night's Shield Children Shelter shuttered due to funding issues during the pandemic is finally reopening. This time it will have a new mission.

The West Frankfort facility had primarily functioned as a children's shelter prior to COVID-19 when funding shortages forced them to close.
Organizers plan to reopen on July 13th as a family advocacy center.

"Southern Illinois is a bit of a resource desert for families in need, so we saw the need there for programs such as this to serve families. So we wanted to step in and provide it," Johns said.

They are expected to provide free parenting classes, family fun nights and even a computer lab to help family members find employment.

Executive Director Dane Johns said even though their resources are slim they feel they have a void to fill in the community.

"The need was there even before the pandemic, and now that the pandemic has hit, and so many folks have fallen on hard times with unemployment, and just generally struggling to get by right now, we really saw the need for us to step in and provide help any way that we can," Johns said.

Johns said they hope to raise enough money to contnue offering free child and crisis care for families in need.

Since opening in 2009, the Night’s Shield has provided over 19,000 nights of care to over 1,400 children under 18 from the entire state of Illinois. In addition, they've helped provide food, clothing, formula, diapers and other household needs to families in crisis within our local communities.

If you're interested in helping out you can be a sponsor or volunteer.

Go to their website here or call (618) 932-6400 or email

John Ross

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