Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS), founded in 1883 in Bangor, Maine, to unify the charitable work being done by 24 different groups, has hand-written records dating back to its inception.
Community Health and Counseling Services began in 1883 when a group of churchwomen organized Associated Charities, a coalition of church and voluntary charitable organizations located in and around Bangor, Maine. The mission of this group was:
· to enlist the services of a friendly visitor for families in need;
· to provide that the case of each applicant be investigated thoroughly;
· to provide the means of confidential exchange of information between charitable societies, churches and benevolent individuals and the overseer of the poor;
· to make all relief conditional upon good conduct and progress by the recipient.
For the next decade, all work of the organization was carried out by a “Board of Lady Visitors”, each of whom was charged with a definite section of the city. This group met twice weekly to consider the needs of families they had visited and to assure that there was no overlap or duplication of assistance given. Detailed, handwritten records were kept.
In 1922, the organization changed its name to The Bangor Welfare Society and the mission was expanded:
Where possible, to restore to independence and normal life, disadvantaged families, by means of careful planning and the carrying out of such plans, which may involve relief and employment, medical care, education and the solution of family difficulties of all kinds whether due to internal or external causes.
Community Health and Counseling, "Guide to Community Health and Counseling Services Collection 1883 - 1966" (2007). Records, Finding Aid. Paper 1.