The Alexian Brothers tradition began more than 800 years ago in Europe when small groups of laymen banded together to live a Christian life and care for the poor, the sick, and the helpless. Like St. Alexius, whose name they bear, they have worked on the fringes of society, easing the pain of those in greatest need. In 1347, when the Black Death struck Europe, they were there to care for its victims and give the dead a Christian burial. After weathering many trials in Europe, they expanded to America in 1866 where they continued their mission of caring for societies less fortunate and ill in the hospitals they built. The present day Alexian Brothers are located throughout Europe, England, the United States, and the Philippines.
St. Alexius Outreach Ministries began in 2017 to form a community where all elders know they are valued and cared for. The first program, Hospitality at Home, visited seniors in outlying areas to form friendships and assess needs. Most of the 70 participants were referrals from Adult Protective Services. Despite the success of Hospitality at Home, the pandemic forced St. Alexius Outreach Ministries to pause the program.
To ensure the ongoing success of the Senior Shopping Shuttle, which started in 2012 under the former Alexian Brothers' Senior Neighbors program, St. Alexius Outreach Ministries adopted the program in 2018. The Senior Shopping Shuttle provides weekly transportation to grocery stores for seniors and those with disabilities who live in areas identified as food deserts. After a brief pause due to the pandemic, the Senior Shopping Shuttle was revived in 2022. Currently the Senior Shopping Shuttle is operating under a partnership with the Chattanooga Housing Authority.
In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the need for a food and supply pantry, which had been a dream since the beginning. In March of 2020, More Than Food was started, which offers food, household, and personal supplies to older adults in crisis. The More than Food program has morphed into the Senior Center Food Delivery program, which currently serves ten senior activity centers in 10 counties in Southeast Tennessee.
Read more about the Alexian Brothers by clicking here.