Back in 1997, three women who worked at local churches saw a need to assist individuals and families who came to the churches’ doors requesting help. They also saw the need to insure that the churches’ allocated funds for “walk-in” assistance were being used to help those truly in need and to take some of the responsibility for making those decisions off of the minsters and church staff.

A committee was formed to assess these needs, determine the geographic area to be served, establish guidelines for service, find a centralized location for a site, gather resources, train volunteers, and establish a board. An appeal went out to local churches for several means of support: to divert their “walk-in” assistance funds to one central site, to refer those people seeking help to this site, and to assist as much as possible with recruitment of volunteers and sharing information with the congregation through bulletin inserts. 

Finally, on October 1, 1997, the Elmhurst Walk-In Ministry (EWIM) opened its door at First Congregational Church. This served as the site for several years until the space became too small.  EWIM then moved to a larger location in the lower lever of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ where it has remained since. 

EWAN (formally EWIM) had relied solely on volunteers until January 2014 when the Board decided to hire an Executive Director to oversee the operations of the growing organization.