Marysville News

Hope Center: 'on the edge of faith and hope'

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Money may be tight, but the Hope Center in Marysville continues to find ways to help those in need.

That's the way it should be, as far as Director Jessica Schulze is concerned.

"We live on the edge of faith and hope of what God can do in our community and when we take a moment to celebrate all He's done for us already this year, it makes it really easy to believe God for the best things for next year," she said.

"The truth is, if we could do this on our own, then God wouldn't get the glory. When it's hard, like it is, and it's on the edge, it puts us in a place where we have to trust God for the future and that's a wonderful place to be."

The Hope Center at 212 Chestnut St. houses several social services, ministries and programs to serve Union County residents. It also is home to Agape Community Fellowship Church and the Refuge Youth Center.

Schulze said when Hope Center officials look back at 2013, they find a lot to celebrate.

"We had six salvations, we had more than $54,000 in needs met for families outside of our regular budget," she said. "Money from churches, partners and businesses came in to help with utilities and housing and other family emergencies."

Even so, she said, the budget is still falling short for the year, although a recent fundraiser called Hope for the Holidays will help.

"We packed the Agape auditorium with about 200 guests, including volunteers working to help us celebrate the season," she said.

They don't have final numbers yet, but Schulze said it looks like around $25,000 was donated or pledged at the fundraiser.

"We're so excited. It goes a long way toward meeting our needs, since we do face a shortfall for 2013," she said. "We're trying to meet that budget need for this year but also start 2014 in good standing."

The Hope Center recently opened a Grace Clinic where doctors are available two Mondays a month to see uninsured adult patients for urgent care.

A legal clinic also was opened two months ago and is seeing 17 new cases a month, according to Schulze. It is designed to help people who might not know if they need a lawyer for a specific issue, she said.

The Hope Center's list of accomplishments for 2013 includes helping eight families secure housing and helping more than 30 individuals or families stay in housing.

In addition, the center's emergency assistance program transported 17 families or individuals to shelters. The Family to Family Furniture Bank served 253 families and the Nutrition Kitchen served 18,066 meals in the first 10 months of 2013.

"We had an incredible year of ministry and service to the community. You just don't realize when you're doing it all year long," Schulze said.

Looking ahead to 2014, she said efforts are already started to concentrate on youth and community programs.

"We just appointed a new after-school coordinator to help us develop after-school programs and coordinate tutors for the high school programs," she said. "Our computer lab has just come online so we're going to be able to offer Internet access to the public in a way we couldn't before."

There are also plans to bring support groups to the Hope Center in 2014, including Alcoholics Anonymous; the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a support group for parents whose children are struggling with emotional disorders; and Nar-Anon family groups to help those affected by someone else's addiction.