Today, the need for the services of the Center has never been greater. Where once “cotton was king” and the mills flourished, the last mill closed its doors recently. Skilled only for work in the mills, valley residents are becoming more isolated from the larger society by increasing poverty and soon to be even farther left behind by current economic trends in business and industry.
In addition to caring for the poor, sick, and elderly members of the community, the Center staff has been working to develop programs to address the needs of those undereducated and unprepared workers to join the modern workforce.
Though programs have adapted to meet the needs of changing times, the Center remains a focal point of service for valley residents.
During the Great Depression this Valley was said to be the second largest pocket of poverty in the United States. About 18-miles long, the Valley is composed of numerous unincorporated textile mill towns.
Msgr. George L. Smith, the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Aiken, enlisted the aid of wealthy residents to build a mission center in the neighboring valley.
In 1939, the Horse Creek Valley Handicraft and Welfare Center (later known as Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Center) became the first social service agency in Horse Creek Valley.
The center was staffed by Sisters of Christian Doctrine who taught kindergarten and visited homes to care for the sick. They formed groups to provide service and recreational programs for all ages.