Home, it’s where you eat, sleep and dream, unless you happen to be homeless. For many homeless in Conway, home is Bethlehem House. Conway’s only homeless shelter has long been in need of a new bigger, building to replace the current overcrowded dilapidated 100-year-old structure. At 9:30 a.m., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Board of Directors and Steering Committee of the Bethlehem House "Home for the Homeless Campaign" will hold the Official Ground Breaking Event for a new shelter. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. The event will be held on the new property at 1115 Parkway Ave. Funds are still being raised toward the goal of $1.3 million needed to construct the new 7,200 square foot two story building.
The new facility will have some never before features, including a family room. In the current building, Bethlehem House Case Manager Debbie Crosby says, "our rooms are full, we have office areas and pantries downstairs, so we no longer have a ‘quiet room.’ This means families no longer have a place to just go and spend quality time together to let the kids get down in the floor and play. Currently, this is done in the dining room or outside-weather permitting. A designated family space has been a dream of ours for years and it is a most welcome blessing!"
Bethlehem House has little dining room space in which to provide the only daily soup kitchen in Faulkner County. The evening meal is served to anyone that wants to eat. Many times that means feeding 45 or more people. Crosby says, "I have seen residents, non-residents and their children crammed into a 15x13 ft. dining room, sitting on stairs or outside under a pavilion in the weather to eat dinner. We try to provide a wholesome meal, but now along with the meal we will be able to provide the room for people to sit, relax and be at home, even though it’s just for a little while, they can be comfortable."
Mike Ford, Past President of the Board of Directors says, "What I like most about the new shelter is that it is happening – by God’s grace and generosity through many people. And here’s why, the need is tremendous and this is a wonderful reflection on this community to address the need." Another $71,000 must be raised to meet the financial needs of the new building project. Current President of the Board of Directors, Aimee Prince states, "I am excited about the opportunity to be able to offer a safer more stable house environment for the residents as well as have the opportunity to reach more of those in need."
"We’ve come a long way raising money for the new homeless shelter. But we’re not quite there yet," says homeless shelter Executive Director Judi Lively. "To build the new shelter, we still need $71,000. This $71,000 will be matched by the Mabee and Windgate Foundations, but we have to raise the entire amount first." This means, your $100 donation becomes $300 when matched by the Mabee and Windgate Foundations. All donations are tax deductible and greatly needed. Donations can be made online at www.bethlehemhouse.net. Please mark your donation for the "Capital Campaign."
The Board of Directors and Steering Committee of the Bethlehem House "Home for the Homeless Campaign" invites the public to be present for the Official Groundbreaking Event on Tuesday, at the new shelter location at 1115 Parkway Ave., Conway. A copy of the blue prints will be on display.