Shared Blessings prepares for events

A flurry of volunteers package food to be boxed up and sent for delivery to recipients who are on the meals on wheels program and others who in need on Thanksgiving. 

Shared Blessings Transitional Housing is preparing for several upcoming events to help fund the shelter and support the community.

Shared Blessings Director Shelly Bess said they will have their 2nd Annual Enchanted Glowing Lake Walk on Oct. 20-21 at Bonne Terre Lakeview Park.

“We will have treats, shirts, games and glowing items,” said Bess. “We will also hand out stuff to the little kids and this year we’ve added a twist. We are going to have characters in costume, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and others. We will keep them around the pavilion and have a nice area for the little kids.”

Bess said for the older kids there will be spooky characters that aren’t so cuddly around the lake. It will be a haunted walk around the lake.

“Last year we did fairly well with 30 to 40 people who came out,” said Bess. “We are going to try two nights this year, Friday and Saturday night, and see if we can turn it into something we do annually.”

Bess said they do need helpers to dress up in costume and they'd also like to hear other people’s ideas to make the haunted walk spooky.

“It’s a good family evening that doesn’t break the bank,” said Bess. “It’s $10 for adults, $5 for kids and $25 for a family. It will be from 6 to 9 p.m. both nights and all proceeds will benefit Shared Blessings.”

Bess said they will also have booth at St. Joseph’s Annual Craft Fair in Farmington on Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This is huge for us. The Restorative Justice Organization at the Farmington Correctional Center is so gracious to us and supplies so many beautiful crafts we can sell to help raise money for Shared Blessings,” said Bess. “They make quilts, baby quilts, wood craved items, afghan blankets, dream catchers and many unique things you won’t see anywhere else.”

Bess said in the past, the organization has given them bird feeder gourds, gloves, sock hats, scarves, baby hats and character hats. She added this is one of their biggest fundraisers each year.

“They help us out tremendously and all the money goes towards running the shelter,” said Bess. “Our budget looks like a third of it goes to insurance, a third to utilities and a third to operating expenses. You can always tell when our donations are down by the amount of fundraiser we are trying to hold.”

Bess said they have to raise money somehow to keep the doors open. She added they will also a Buffalo Wild Wings night on Oct. 30. Those who want to support the cause should bring in the flyer from in order for the shelter to get 10 percent of the sales that night. 

Bess said they will also have a benefit Horse Clinic and their 2nd Annual Trail Ride on Nov. 11 at the Bess Farm located at 2955 Bess Rd. in Bonne Terre.

“Paul Stephens has graciously agreed to come out and teach us how to maneuver some of horses that have problems,” Bess said. “We will have the clinic at 10 a.m. that morning and the trail ride that afternoon at 2 p.m.”

Bess said they will have a couple horses there, but they are looking for a couple more to have Stephens work with. Call ahead to make arrangements. 

“I can set them up with Paul to talk to him before that day,” Bess said. “This is our first time having an event like this and he just joined our team. He does this for living, so he decided we should try to do one. This will be the first one that I know of in our county.”

Bess said he will teach the horse manners. He will also teach them what they should be doing, if they have a bad habit he will teach how to get them out of that habit.

“He will teach you how to get your horse to saddle up to something, so you can get on easier and he will basic horse grooming and how to take care of a horse,” said Bess. “He can show us anything we want and if someone has a specific need that day, we can talk to him before that day and he can be prepared to show us how to handle it.”

Bess said it would be great to know how many people are coming to the clinic so preregistration would be nice. It’s not necessary to preregister for the trail ride though.

“After the trail ride we will have a bonfire, chili, hot dogs and S’mores,” said Bess. “Last year we had a good turnout with close to 100 horses. If we could do that again it would phenomenal.”

Bess said they are also preparing for their Annual Thanksgiving dinner they do each year. They already had some people step up and say they were coming to help this year.

“I believe after feeding 1,700 people last year, we will feed more than 2,000 this year,” Bess said. “This has grown each year."

The first year they fed 500. 

“To be honest we ran out of manpower last year and I believe we could have reached more last year and we will reach them this year if people come out and help us,” Bess said. “We delivered almost all of those meals and will need volunteers to help deliver this year.”

Bess said they are looking for donations of everything for the traditional Thanksgiving meal from the turkey and the ham, down to the cranberry sauce, rolls, drinks and desserts.

“If you are going to serve it at your house, just make two and bring us one,” said Bess. “We are also going to need help with cooking the turkeys. We only have one range and will start cooking the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If somebody can cook a turkey for us it would greatly help.”

Bess said Shared Blessings will also be the hub to sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation Army this year.

“We will be setting up the times if anyone wants to ring the bell at Bonne Terre Country Mart and Save-A-Lot and Desloge Walmart,” said Bess. “I also want to thank the community for their support so far on the Thanksgiving meals and if they can come out help, the need is great.”

For more information on any of the upcoming events contact Shared Blessings at 573-358-2998 and to RSVP for the horse clinic call 573-631-5435.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or


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