See What Faith Can Do: $17K!
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement during this campaign! Our results show what faith, prayer and hard work can achieve: $17,680 has been donated by the generous people of western Nevada County, far surpassing PEACE’s goal for this campaign of $10,000.
With the seed grant from PEACE, made possible by the generosity of the late Lee Renz, we will give $27,680 to the Salvation Army’s Booth Family Center and Hospitality House (minus a small fee for online donations). We believe these organizations — like so many workers of good in our community — are the face of Christ to our homeless neighbors.
“We’re grateful we have a community that wants to know about the needs of the homeless and is willing to step up,” said Social Services Director Sarah Eastberg of the Salvation Army.
Profiled families moving forward
Meanwhile, formerly homeless people who have been profiled in the “Leap of Faith” series continue to make progress in their lives, built on the foundation of stability provided by the Booth Family Center and Hospitality House:
- Aaron Campbell, 49, has moved into an apartment with his two small children. Booth Family Center, Campbell’s church and other friends helped him with furniture and household items, he said. Campbell, teachers and social workers are working with son Ryker, 4, so the boy can succeed in school. Then, Campbell said, he looks forward to landing work to support his family.
- Tony Beverly, 60, this week starts classes to become a volunteer broadcaster at KVMR community radio in Nevada City. It fulfills a “bucket list” dream that dates to his teen-age years, the bass-voiced man said. He is savoring the beautiful kitchen in the shared house where he lives, managed by Hospitality House, and he sends a shout of thanks to case manager Jodi Benson.
Brittany Kerr, 30, has moved into temporary housing with her four young children after staying at the Booth Family Center and Hospitality House. Kerr now works at the Women of Worth ReShop in Nevada City, where she attends customers and assists in many other ways. (The resale shop supports WoW’s program for women overcoming domestic violence.)
- Keith McDermid, 26, and Kayla Sylva, 28, had just moved into a Hospitality House-managed group home when their story came out. Since then, the couple has decorated their room, entertained family and stopped smoking cigarettes, Sylva said happily.
- Kelly Mongiardo’s anxiety over telling her story, about domestic violence and the support she received from Hospitality House, has eased with the enthusiastic response it received. “If some people are moved to give even $5 or $10 to the ‘Leap of Faith’ project, then it was worth it to have my story come out,” said Mongiardo, 63.
Donations come, federal grants go
Donations to “Leap of Faith” totaling $16,250 (as of April 4) come just as the Booth Family Center and Hospitality House lose $608,000 in federal grants. In fiscal year 2016-17 starting July 1, new state guidelines will shift such grants from rural areas to urban centers, where homeless populations have exploded.
Booth Center’s $108,000 grant made up more than half its yearly budget of nearly $200,000 to house nine homeless families at a time in a converted motel, Eastberg said.
At Hospitality House, a grant of $400,000 made up nearly half its budget of $900,000 to keep 70 people off the streets every night, Development Director Debbie McDonald said. A new thrift store, set to open later this spring, will make up some of that loss.
Even so, the organizations together still face a $276,000 shortfall for fiscal 2016-17.
With the “Leap of Faith” donations, Booth’s Eastberg said with relief, “we can pay the electricity bill for the entire year.” That covers lights, kitchen appliances, laundry facilities, hot water heaters and mini-refrigerators the rooms, and internet connection “so the parents can look for jobs and our 21 kids can do their homework,” she added.
The campaign put a face on the homeless, Hospitality House’s McDonald said. “People are so excited and encouraged to know that homeless people are getting back on their feet,” she explained. “People feel hope that this change is possible.”