“Learn to do good, seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:7
In 1913, the Ladies Aid Society of the Salem Evangelical Free Church of Chicago felt the need to carry out God’s command of caring for the fatherless. They decided that each month they would mend and sew clothing for children who where in orphanages. As they distributed the clothing the ladies became aware that the orphanages where filled to capacity. It became evident to them that God was calling them to go further than just mend and sew clothing – He wanted them to provide a home for children who had no one to care for them. The ladies responded to God’s calling and in 1916, the charter for LYDIA Children’s Home Society was formed.
In 1917, tragedy struck one of the ladies within the Ladies Aid Society. Dora Ogne was struck ill with Scarlet Fever and died, leaving her husband Andrew to care for seven children. Andrew knew of the Ladies Aid Society desire to start an orphanage, he went to them with an offer of giving his home to the society to start their orphanage if they would help care for his children. As a result, the vision for LYDIA Children’s Home had become a reality with seven children.
The next 2 years – LYDIA Children’s Home found it essential to purchase two more homes to provide for the many children that God continued to place in their care. In 1920, the property at 4300 West Irving Park Road was purchased as a larger, permanent home for LYDIA’s children.
Today over 100 years later, LYDIA remains committed to providing Hope, Healing and Home to children in the foster care community. The challenges we face are great, but we are grateful for the sacred privilege to serve with the aim of improving children’s lives and providing opportunities for families to be restored.
LYDIA Home Association was named after a woman in the Bible recorded in the book of Acts. The woman, Lydia, was a faithful, God-fearing woman who opened her home to those who needed shelter. (Acts 16:14-15)