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Julia

Julia

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  • Published in Donate

Gift of Grace

A new building promises women and children a chance to be safe, to experience dignity, to live in a caring community, and to find restoration.

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The Need

More than 200 children are homeless in Walla Walla. Through no fault of their own, these children live night-to-night wondering where they are going to sleep, if they will be safe, if they will be warm, and if they will be fed.

Their tender young lives are often marked by addiction, abandonment, abuse, and shame that threaten their critical foundational years and positions them to renew the cycle of homelessness--placing further strain on community and government resources. For most of them, hope flickers perilously and will not rise until their mothers can find the resources to change the course of their future.

Unfortunately, homeless women with children in Walla Walla County have limited options. The Christian Aid Center shelters single women and mothers with children. But on a typical week, we turn away eight families because of lack of space.

Our difficulty is not just with space—the condition and design of our buildings inhibit our program’s potential. In many ways, the chaos in the women’s lives is mirrored in the buildings that support them.

The facilities, even with vigilant and appropriate maintenance, have passed their useful life. They are simply old, dark, stained, worn and unsafe beyond any meaningful remodel.

We believe our community can do better for these women and children and can help them reverse the cycle of homelessness for themselves and future generations. 

At the Christian Aid Center, help starts with meals, clothing, and shelter, but it doesn’t end there. We not only rescue lives but we work to restore them. Addressing the needs of the whole person—physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually—is at the core of our mission. 

With our intensive, long-term residential programs, we help guests change their lives. They abandon codependency for independence. They choose sobriety over addiction. They replace dysfunctional relationships with healthy connections to their children, their community and a supportive church. 

Our passion is to see broken lives renewed and rebuilt into the best God intended them to be. 

This is a bold challenge in itself, but the current state of our facilities for women and children makes it even more difficult.

  • With room for only 19 guests, our staff is regularly turning away families who come for help.
  • The apartments are old and worn. They are difficult and expensive to maintain.
  • Proper security is nearly impossible, leaving women and children feeling unsafe. 
  • There is no dedicated dining facility, so mothers and their children have no option but to cross the street and eat in our community dining room. While this is safe for resident men and outside adult community members, it is not suitable for children. 
  • Steep stairs in the apartments make it difficult for small children and guests who are elderly, pregnant or have disabilities. 
  • The tight and awkward community space is inefficient and distracting for classes, meetings, and counseling sessions. 

In many ways, the chaos in the women’s lives is mirrored in the current old buildings that are expected to support their life-change. 


The Plan

We believe it’s possible to create an environment where change can take place.

The Christian Aid Center is conducting a $4.85 million capital campaign to build a new shelter with the goal of ending the vicious cycle of homelessness for women and children in our community. Your participation is vital.

The new 17,000-square-foot facility that promises women and children a chance to be safe, to experience dignity, to live in a caring community, and to find restoration and hope. 

This new building will provide the following spaces:

Main floor

  • Welcome and gathering room
  • Dining room with attached kitchen
  • Childcare center
  • Secure outdoor playground
  • Classroom
  • Store for guests
  • Conference room
  • On-site staff offices

Second floor

  • 16 flexible living-quarters that can house a maximum of 52 guests
  • Common living rooms
  • Counseling offices
  • Apartment for dorm monitor
  • Laundry facilities 

Your Gift

 

Give Now

  • Published in Donate

Dear friend,

When I was asked to help out with the Coats for Kids campaign, I gladly said “yes!” 
 
I’m hoping you will too. Here’s why:
 
Many children in our community come from families who are struggling financially. Some of these children go to school without a winter coat, not because they forgot it at home, but because they don’t have one.
 
Such was the case of a little girl from Edison Elementary School. When she received her new coat, she told her teacher: “Now my mommy won’t have to loan me her jacket anymore.”
 
That’s why the Coats for Kids campaign started 20 years ago in partnership with the Christian Aid Center. Over the years, hundreds of families in College Place and Walla Walla have benefited from this program. Last year alone, nearly 500 coats were given to children who really needed them. We know this because we work directly with the counselors in each school.
 
I also want you to know that all coats purchased for this campaign will be brand new. We think kids should not only be warm, but also feel special for having a coat purchased especially for them. Over and over again we hear this is the first new coat many of these children have ever owned. 
 
Mindy Gonzales, an intervention specialist from Berney Elementary School, shared this story:
“Last year was my first time working directly with Coats for Kids. I remember pulling a student from class to give her a new coat. When I handed it to her she said ‘But this is new,’ and I explained that it was new and it belonged to her. She gave me a big hug and for the rest of that week, every time we passed in the hallway she thanked me for her coat.”
 
This program is possible because of the kindness of friends like you. Your gift of $17 will provide one coat, or maybe you can give $85 which will help five kids in need. Whatever size gift you can give will help children stay warm this winter.
 
With the weather getting colder, I hope you will take this opportunity to directly help a child by supporting the Coats for Kids campaign.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rick Johnson, Chairperson
2018 Coats for Kids Campaign

 

Thank you Cherish, Zoe and Derek!

Meet Cherish, Zoe and Derek -- three awesome kids who decided to spend some of their vacation time helping others.  On Tuesday, they raised $69.43 for our shelter with their lemonade stand on the corner of Birch and Catherine Streets.  They also made some cool summertime decorations for our dining hall.  Thank you!

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