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What If? What if you didn’t have running water, if you didn’t have heat? What if you didn’t know what you were going to eat for dinner tonight or if you didn’t know where you and your family were going to sleep tonight? What if you didn’t have a home? What if you had to ask yourself these questions? Well in Iowa over the course of the year 23,000 people had to answer these awful questions, and they didn’t start with “what if?”. It was a reality for them they were homeless, and they had to figure out other options. Hi my name is Julia Albaugh. I am a part of the Van Meter FCCLA chapter. My StarEvent is on the effect of homelessness. By using the FCCLA planning process I identified a concern. My concern was not enough people know the full effects of homelessness, and not enough people volunteer in the community. About a month ago I went to Hope Ministries to volunteer at the Hope Bargain and Community Outreach Center. I volunteered for about an hour organizing shoes, and rearranging clothes. There were shopping carts full of gently used shoes that people just dropped off at the center. It was really moving to see how much people donate to this charity. Even today being in a recession, families are still willing to give. Through the FCCLA planning


process I set a goal; for people to be better educated on the issue of homelessness. I think it is so important to recognize their needs, and I think if more people are aware of their struggles, we can better help the less fortunate. But before I get started you first should know a little history about Hope Ministries. Hope Ministries has been dedicated to the homeless and the hungry in Des Moines since 1915. They are an organization that provides food, clothing, and shelter and other recovery services for the homeless. Regardless of race, gender, religion, or age. Bethel Mission, one of their best-known shelters, is the largest emergency shelter for homeless men in Iowa. They provide 108 beds, year round. Another facility, Hope’s Door of Faith, provides 102 beds for the long-term residential and life recovery for homeless men. The Hope Family Center is a new facility housing woman and children. They provide 48 beds. The Hope cafÊ provides three free meals a day year round to the homeless in the community. Tables of Grace Meals Program at the CafÊ make 300-400 meals per day. Serving 12,000 meals each month. More programs Hope is involved in are Prison Outreach programs. These programs provide transitional housing for those released from prison, and into their facilities and life recovery programs. Although Hope does do


more than just provide housing for recovering families. They have a learning center that provides a curriculum that focuses on GED and college educations, life skills, and health and wellness. In addition they provide Hope’s Supportive Services, including mental health counseling, eye, dental, chiropractic, and hygiene care, with the help through volunteering professionals and local businesses. After one graduates from a treatment program they are given assistance when they find a new place to live. Hope’s Aftercare Program provides a graduate with transitional support, including rental housing, subsidy, job search, food, clothing, hygiene and laundry support. As well graduates are required to attend a weekly support group and counseling sessions. In addition they are supplied with home furnishings. They are given vouchers from Hope’s Bargain Center. Serving as a thrift store, donation center, recycling center, and a volunteer hub. This community center serves many purposes to Hope’s and the surrounding community. Now that you know a little bit more about Hope, and all of their programs they have, I want to share with you a story I read about. A man named Rodney, on Hope’s website. Rodney’s story is inspirational and makes you think about giving back to the homeless. Rodney had been in 11 different treatment centers in 20


years. He started drinking when he was just 16, “Alcohol was my drug.� States Rodney. While stationed in Germany he got married and had a son. His wife refused to go back to the states with him because of his alcohol addiction. He soon lost everything. Selling whatever he could to get more alcohol. He ended up losing his car, furniture, and eventually his apartment. Rodney went through many different stages of sobriety, which would only last for a year or two. Not until he went to Hope Ministries Bethel Mission facility, six years ago that he become on the right path to sobriety. Bethel gave him a meal, and offered him a room at the facility. This is the home where he found God. Now six years later after going through the program, he is sober and happy again. Rodney now works at Hope Bargain Center as a production and warehouse assistant. Rodney has also reconnected with his son in Germany, and communicates with him daily through Facebook. Another great accomplishment, he also is in the process of buying his first permanent home ever! Rodney’s story is truly touching, it is a great example of what Hope does for homeless people, and how it can change their lives for the better. I was so inspired when researching more about Hope and homeless people that I wanted to get more involved. I contacted Mary who works at Hope. I


wanted to make something that the Family Center could benefit from. It was also Christmas time so I wanted to make them something special. Mary was thrilled that I called, and said that the families would love home baked goods. I made some holiday treats for each of the three families. When I brought it to the Family Center, they were all so grateful that I took the time to do that for them. I really hope more people can take the time to give back to their community. I was unaware of how many people are homeless in the Des Moines area. I think it is so unfortunate and I think more people should be aware of this. I want more people to take the time to volunteer their time, and/or donate to homeless shelters. I think both would benefit from it, it feels great to give back. What if you didn’t have a home? What would you do? You would want people to give back to you too. Â

What If?  

FCCLA StarEvent Talks about the effects of homelessness

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