Except for margarine, the refrigerator was empty.

Last month, two Hope House staff members went to visit Brittany, a residential graduate. They found her house clean and her daughters dressed up and excited to have company. The staff was proud to also find that despite a medical leave from her job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Lutheran Hospital, Brittany had paid all of her bills in advance.

However, this left little money for food, and Brittany was down to a tub of margarine and two boxes of Hamburger Helper from the local food pantry. Using the Hope House Crisis Fund, the two staff members went to the grocery store, stocking Brittany’s kitchen with enough groceries to last until her next paycheck.

Crisis. This is a word that is frequently associated with generational poverty. Why? Because people born into poverty live on the edge, rarely having the resources to deal with life’s bumps such as cars breaking down, pipes bursting, sick children who can’t go to daycare… the list continues. They often have no one to turn to for help.

“At Hope House, they know they will find a loving community and support,” says Executive Director Lisa Steven. “They know where home is, where to call when they are panicked and don’t know what to do.”

Anne is another residential graduate successfully living on her own. However, she nearly lost her job as a paralegal because she was not wearing professional clothing to work. She had saved her money to purchase two pairs of slacks, but being only five feet tall, they were far too long. Her boss had given her an ultimatum.

Hope House was able to help. A few volunteers altered Anne’s pants and helped her purchase a small wardrobe of professional clothing. Her boss called Hope House the next day, commenting that the new clothing had not only transformed Anne’s appearance but her demeanor as well. She was now answering the phone with more confidence, holding her head high and looking her colleagues in the eye.

The crisis calls come frequently, and they are up in 2011. In fact, Hope House has already exhausted its $5,000 crisis fund for the year, and it is only July. This is a reflection of the economy and the fact that every year Hope House has more graduates trying to make it on their own — and sometimes needing help.

We need to raise an additional $5,000 to meet the crisis needs that will arise during the rest of the year. Your gift will literally rescue a young family. Thank you for helping our girls have a “home.”

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