Pastor Donald Meeks, 1st Choice Outreach Ministries, Matteson, IL 1952-2022

The Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC) shares profound condolences with the family, friends, and community of Pastor Donald Meeks of 1st Choice Outreach Ministries and Trustee of the Village of Matteson, IL. Pastor Meeks passed away on July 4.

Pastor Meeks was a Co-chair of the Ministers for Manufacturing committee of the CMRC representing the south suburbs. He participated in  the most recent meeting of the committee on June 21 at Daley College in Chicago.

We would like to share a few comments that Rev. Meeks made In a June interview for a story about Ministers for Manufacturing for Manufacturing Renaissance. They reflect his great concern, insights, and commitment to youth and improving our communities.

Rev. Meeks said that training young people in underserved communities for jobs in manufacturing  “is a good alternative to give our youth an upper hand in learning a marketable skill and help them with a career path that they may not presently have.  It’s something that nobody can take away from them once they get certified. It also deters them from other activities – like drive-bys, robberies and break-ins. Let’s give our youth viable alternatives to work for money.”

It’s important, he added, “to let young people out there know what is available to them at Daley College or similar programs.”

“We have to better our schools and our communities, and promote economic growth,” he said. “It’s important for us to create a format to put out there where we can all partner together. Like they say, it takes a village to raise a child. The federal, state, city, and county governments are all part of that village – or at least should be. Let’s consider all of the alternatives, instead of turning a deaf ear. It will make us all better.”

The Manufacturing Renaissance programs, he says, are “viable programs that make a difference. These kind of programs can improve our communities – and impact economic growth in a positive way.”

During the interview, Rev. Meeks’ also shared other highlights of his career, which included teaching financial literacy  through a Fannie Mae program called Credit Smart that taught participants how to read a credit report, save, and understand the dangers of having too many credit cards. Rev. Meeks was also an entrepreneur, and was involved in the opening up various restaurants as well.  He also said he learned marketable skills as an aircraft mechanic in the U.S.  Navy.

“There are a lot of jobs out there,” he says. “We have to encourage young people to learn marketable skills. When they do that, it leads to learning other skills.”

-Dan Baron