For some people, a safe, warm bed to sleep on at the end of the night can make a world of difference in their life.
That’s why Hutchinson’s Tammy Rolf, founder of the philanthropy group Daughters With Purpose, wants to raise money for beds at the Place of Hope shelter in St. Cloud, which serves families from Hutchinson, Litchfield and other local communities.
“There is a real need with homelessness in our community and surrounding communities,” she said. “It’s actually an epidemic wherever you go, and a lot of people aren’t aware that this is even something that’s going on in their own community.”
When Place of Hope first contacted Rolf, she reached out to United Community Action Partnership to see the true impact of homelessness in Meeker and McLeod counties. According to Heather Jeseritz, family service manager at the UCAP chapter in Willmar, people from about 50 households a month from both counties require assistance. Those people are either facing eviction within the next 14 days or are already homeless on the streets.
“The faster that we can get services or resources to these families who are facing homelessness — we want to eliminate or prevent a homeless situation whenever possible,” Jeseritz said.
McLeod and Meeker counties currently don’t have a facility set up to take care of homeless families and individuals, so most end up at the St. Cloud program. Place of Hope provides about 7,000 meals a month, according to Rolf.
“I know when I was there, people from Hutchinson were there,” she said.
Daughters With Purpose hopes to raise enough money to buy 50 twin beds for the women and children section at Place of Hope. Through a special deal organized by Rolf, the beds cost $350 each, and several area churches have already donated or are organizing fundraisers for the cause.
Donations will be accepted through Oct. 21 and can be sent to Daughters With Purpose at 1440 Jefferson St. S.E., Hutchinson, MN 55350. People can also donate online at daughterswithpurpose.org/give.
Along with offering a place to sleep, Place of Hope provides many other services to help people in need.
“They got rehabilitation to help people get jobs and things like that,” Rolf said. “It’s not just a place for them to sleep, but there’s also an apartment where a mother and her children can live until she can get back on her feet.”
The shelter offers a 6-12 month program for people coming off the street, people suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, or people wanting a place to recover their stability and peace of mind. The program provides a place of hope, healing and restoration for individuals and families.
The shelter also helps people who are victims of human trafficking, which is more common in central Minnesota than people might realize, Rolf said.
“People don’t even think about. This is real, and the community, we need to come together and help each other,” Rolf said. “We can be the voice where they don’t have one.”
“Even if we can do something as little as 50 beds, it’s huge. It’s gigantic,” she added. “Because the gals that work at the shelter, they say, ‘When a woman and her children come in and they see they get a bed, they just sit and cry.’”