Don Chenoweth has a secret, one he would like to share with the entire county.

Don Chenoweth has a secret, one he would like to share with the entire county.

"Andrews House is one of Delaware's best-kept secrets. ... A true community treasure," said Chenoweth, its executive director.

Andrews House is at 39 W. Winter St., in a building leased for $1 a year from St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The building has been a private home, hospital and fraternity house since it was built in the mid-1800s. The church bought it in 1993, restored it and turned it over to the Andrews House board shortly after.

The mission of Andrews House is "to provide a place for hospitality, healing and education, and to advocate for individuals and families in the community," according to its mission statement.

It is also a place where people come to feel safe, Chenoweth said.

Colleen Pavarini, operations manager of a free weekly medical clinic offered at Andrews House, agrees.

"It is a secret -- chock full of things that people don't know are there -- free dinners, free legal and medical care, a computer center," she said.

Andrews House is the parent and a myriad of organizations inside its walls are there to provide services to community members who need them, Chenoweth said.

"It's a safe place, centrally located and full of people who want to help," Pavarini said.

There are two free meals a month. On the second Friday of each month the organization's partner churches serve a hot meal, to eat there or for takeout. On each third Thursday Andrews House serves soup, sandwiches and dessert in the dining room.

The medical clinic, run by Grace Church in Powell, is held every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

"We couldn't have picked a better place for a medical clinic," Pavarini said. "People come there because they know they will be treated with respect, loved and appreciated."

Those visiting the clinic, she said, have colds, flu, diabetes and heart problems, all the things that don't require an emergency visit but need to be treated.

In the current slumping economy, the clinic is seeing more people who are uninsured or underinsured, not necessarily homeless but unable to afford a doctor's visit, she said.

"We're a real safety net for those who can't afford medical care," she said.

The computer learning center is housed in the basement and has several computers with Internet access, Chenoweth said. "It is definitely underutilized," he said.

Several organizations have office space at Andrews House. They are Action for Children, Alzheimer's Association, Arthritis Foundation, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Concerned Citizens Against Homelessness-Family Promise, Connections Volunteer Center and Women of the Well.

The Angel Food Ministries recently set up shop and provides a week's worth of groceries for a family of four for $30. They also have senior citizens' convenience meals, an allergen-free food box, seafood box, and other meat, vegetable and fruit specials.

The Interfaith Legal Clinic, operated by the Delaware Bar Association, provides free legal help for disputes such as custody issues, landlord-tenant issues, foreclosure, divorce and child support on the third Tuesday of each month starting at 5:30 p.m.

Andrews House receives no United Way or government funds. It relies on support from its member churches and organizations, grants and donations, Chenoweth said.

While money for operations is always needed, the biggest need right now is help to reduce those costs by "greening up" the building.

"We do everything we do with about $150,000 a year" but utilities cost nearly $2,000 a month, Chenoweth said.

For more information on Andrews House or to find out how to help, call (740) 369-4520 or visit www.andrewshouse.org.

cpreston@thisweeknews.com