YORK -- Tender Hearts Ministries of York wants to make its House a home.
The House of Hope shelter opened last fall and has since helped about 50 women and children in need of shelter and a hand up. But the building isn't their own.
Tender Hearts Ministries is renting the building from Howard Burrell, who is moving to Georgia to take over as pastor of a Baptist church. He wants to sell it before moving.
The nonprofit has until July 15 to raise $136,000 to buy the building.
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It's a lot of money to raise in a short time, but Tender Hearts director Ainslee House said she is trusting that miracles can happen.
"We were built by faith, and by faith we believe God will supply the $136,000," House said.
The House of Hope is primarily funded by money raised at the Tender Hearts Thrift Store and grants. By owning the shelter, the ministry would save about $800 a month.
Already the community is showing support. Last week, two people walked in to the ministry and each promised to give $1,000 to the project.
Cornerstone Family Worship Center of York has also decided to get behind Tender Hearts by organizing fundraisers. On May 17, they'll hold a salad luncheon and fashion show featuring clothes from Tender Hearts and later the center will host an auction and hot dog plate sale.
"There is a great need in our community to minister to women and children who have found themselves in situations where they are either endangered in their present home or due to circumstances have become homeless with no home to go to," said Andrea Matthews, who is helping to organize Cornerstone's fundraisers. "It's a very worthwhile project in that helping people isn't just giving them money and letting them continue in the situation that they have found themselves in."
The shelter helps women get back on their feet and become self-supportive, she said.
House admits there have been some disappointments since opening the shelter -- people who left the program before finishing or moved away.
"They have to want to make a difference in their own lives in order for us to help them and you celebrate those victories as they come," House said. "There are those who do not want to help themselves and it does break your heart."
But there have been successes too, such as the enthusiasm when residents find jobs, and seeing the kids happy because at least in the shelter they're not sleeping out of a car, House said.
One of those success stories is a homeless woman staying at the shelter who recently became the first resident to get her GED.
"It's been a pleasure being here because it's a lot of support and it's a lot of motivation," said the woman, who agreed to be interviewed only if given anonymity. "It helps out dealing with everyday life situations and helping you achieve goals."
What she's learned at the shelter will make her stronger and wiser and will enable her to help others in the future, she said.
Tender Hearts' long-range goal is to open up a new shelter that would accommodate 48 women and children, House said. Then the current shelter would likely be converted to a training building where the women would study for their GEDs and complete other training to help them find jobs, House said.
WANT TO HELP: If you'd like to make a donation, stop by Tender Hearts' thrift store at 511 Kings Mountain St., York or send donations to Tender Hearts, PO Box 634, York, SC 29745. For more information, call Tender Hearts at 684-3132.