Photographs from the Community Service Society Records, 1900-1920

Welfare > Work Programs

AICP and COS had several programs that aimed to provide employment to the poor and unemployed. Two of the most important of which were the Woodyard, established by COS, and the Old Men's Toy Shop, established by AICP.

Old Men’s Toy Shop and Women's Work Room
As an alternative to the almshouse or to begging on the street, AICP employed aged men and women in several shops throughout the city. According to one of the organization’s brochures: “The men are paid a wage of 60 cents a day and maintain a co-operative flat where a number of them live. It is hoped through the sale of the toys, which are of wood painted in brilliant colors, to make the undertaking nearly self-supporting. During the Christmas season, through sales in an uptown store donated for the purpose, the toy shop started with a favorable outlook. Now all it needs is a chance to reach the appreciating eyes of the children.”

Established in 1884, the Woodyard was one of COS’s oldest and longest running programs. The Wood Yard was started "not with any idea of providing work at fair prices for the unemployed, but purely as a means by which to test the good faith of those seeking relief under the plea of inability to procure work.”

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